Pakistan

ISLAMABAD (Web Desk) – The Interior Ministry has decided to act against Maulana Abdul Aziz, firebrand cleric of Islamabad’s Red Mosque (Lal Masjid), over his illicit activities.


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On Friday, a large contingent of Rangers and police personnel was deployed outside the mosque, which was the center of a major military operation in 2007 which ended in a bloody eight-day siege, leaving more than 50 Pakistani troops and seminary students dead.

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According to the interior ministry, the cleric was using the government-run mosque for political activities.

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The action has been taken after the cleric announced to restart his ‘Sharia Law’ campaign again.

Despite refusal from the district administration and the threat of house arrest, the firebrand Lal Masjid vowed to give a sermon at the mosque on Friday (today) and restart his campaign to enforce Sharia Law.

The move comes despite the fact that on Thursday, the Islamabad administration refused to give him permission to give the sermon, ICT officials said.

In December last year, the Aabpara police registered a case against Aziz for criminal intimidation. Around the same time, the government withdrew the official security he had enjoyed for three years. The interior minister had already told the media that Aziz was not the state-approved prayer leader for the mosque.

Security officials say Lal Masjid – which is government owned  – is not an ordinary mosque. It has a dangerous history, and the administration cannot just allow Abdul Aziz to restart his activities.

They add the administration is bound to ensure the implementation of National Action Plan, the slow pace of which has already been criticised by the military.