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Islamabad police surround Lal Masjid after Maulana Aziz’s reentry

Islamabad police surround Lal Masjid after Maulana Aziz’s reentry


The Islamabad police have surrounded the Laal Masjid in Sector G-6 after Maulana Abdul Aziz, who headed the mosque at the time of the 2007 Lal Masjid siege, reentered the mosque.

Taking advantage of the situation when the authorities seemed to be busy with other issues, and the slackness of the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration to notify either a prayer leader or a deputy, Maulana Aziz re-entered the mosque two weeks ago. Currently, the capital administration has laid a siege to the area outside the mosque and Maulana Aziz along with female students is holed up inside. None of the sides seem to back off from their position and the standoff continues.

According to a source close to Aziz, he wants a plot for the construction of Jamia Hafsa. He said that the Islamabad administration had allotted him and his wife Umme Hassan a 20-kanal plot in Sector H-11 in 2012. The allotment was cancelled by the Supreme Court last year. Dawn reports that he also wants to be reinstated as the prayer leader at the mosque and Rs250 million.

Hafiz Ehtesham, the spokesperson for the Lal Masjid who was once very close to Aziz, said that he entered the mosque two weeks ago despite warnings that his presence would make things difficult.

He said the police have surrounded the area and unidentified people are not allowed to enter the mosque. Ehtesham said that Haroon Rashid, Maulana Abdul Rashid’s nephew, has threatened him after he warned them of the consequences. “Haroon Rashid wants a clash,” he said. Abdul Rashid was Aziz’s brother who was killed during the 2007 siege. A security official, requesting anonymity, said that the Islamabad administration had been talking to Aziz and his wife but the process halted on Friday after Umme Hassan delivered a threatening speech.

Forty people were killed in the 2007 siege. It ended with a 35-hour military assault on the mosque. Aziz tried to escape wearing a burqa but was caught.


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