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Islamabad administration strikes deal with Lal Masjid cleric

Islamabad administration strikes deal with Lal Masjid cleric

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The Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration on Sunday reached an agreement with deposed Lal Masjid Khateeb Maulana Abdul Aziz after three days of negotiations, allowing him to stay in the mosque as long he did not deliver sermons, according to a BBC Urdu report.

On February 7, the cleric had occupied the mosque and laid out his demands. Authorities in the federal had laid siege to the mosque and started negotiating with him. Islamabad Deputy Commissioner Hamza Shafqaat confirmed that an agreement had been reached with Aziz and said its details would be announced soon. The firebrand cleric told BBC Urdu that he had reached a verbal agreement with the authorities and a written pact would be prepared within three days.

What is the issue?

The issue of a disputed 20-kanal plot allotted to Jamia Hafsa in Islamabad is pending in the Supreme Court. Aziz’s demands included the reconstruction of the old building of Jamia Hafsa adjacent to Lal Masjid. It was demolished because it was illegally constructed on government property. According to police, they have been deployed around the mosque for three days. They added that the cleric was using around 100 female students accompanied by six or seven men as his shield to prevent the law enforcement agencies from removing him from the mosque.

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