Lal Masjid cleric vows not to seek revenge
ISLAMABAD, April 16: The former Khateeb of Lal Masjid, Maulana Abdul Aziz, was released on Thursday reportedly under a ‘deal’ and he announced that he would not seek revenge on former president Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf who has been accused of killing hundreds of students of the seminary attached to the mosque in a military operation in October 2007.
Maulana Aziz was released on bail only two days after President Asif Ali Zardari signed a controversial agreement with Taliban militants in Swat.
The Maulana is facing 26 cases against him on different charges. After about 18 months, the Lal Masjid was again thronged by a large number of religious activists and Burqa-clad women students of Jamia Hafsa.
Shortly after reaching the mosque, Maulana Aziz led Isha prayers offered at about 10:45, instead of the scheduled time of 8pm.
Maulana Aziz who was arrested during the Lal Masjid operation when he tried to deceive security personnel by coming out of the complex wearing a burqa, was brought to the mosque by hundreds of his supporters. They paid tribute to people killed in the operation, including the Maulana’s younger brother Ghazi Abdul Rashid and chanted: “Ghazi is alive today as he was yesterday.” “Ghazi your blood will bring about revolution” and other slogans.
There are reports here that Maulana Aziz has been released under an agreement that he will not create any trouble for the government and will not make any demand which may be difficult for the government to meet. “I leave it to Allah Almighty,” he said when asked by journalists if he would file a case against former president Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf.
He, however, categorically rejected a perception that he had been released under a deal. “We will look into the past, but will look forward to helping maintain peace, improve economic conditions and stop suicide bombings across the country,” he said.
He said he would continue his struggle for enforcement of Sharia, not only in the country but in the entire world. “We support enforcement of Sharia in Swat and the day is not far off when Sharia will be enforced across the country,” he said.
When asked if activists of Lal Masjid would again take up arms, he said: “If we are pushed to the wall we would have no option but to defend ourselves.” He claimed that he had never supported suicide bombings in the country and that he had only warned the government by saying if an operation was launched against Lal Masjid, suicide bombings could take place throughout the country. (Daily Dawn —- 17th April, 09)
History of Lal Masjid (from Wikipedia)
The Lal Masjid was built in 1965 and is named for its red walls and interiors.According to CDA records the Lal Masjid is one of the oldest Mosques in Islamabad.Maulana Muhammad Abdullah was appointed its first imam.Abdullah was critical of all Governmants except Zia’s with whom he was very close.General Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq
had very close relationship with Maulana Muhammad Abdullah
, the former head of the Mosque. During the Soviet war in Afghanistan
(1979–1989), the Red Mosque played a major role in recruiting and training mujahideen
to fight with the Afghan
mujahideen. Throughout its existence, it has enjoyed patronage from influential members of the government, prime ministers, army chiefs, and presidents. Several thousand male and female students live in adjacent seminaries.
After Abdullah was assassinated in 1998, his sons Abdul Aziz
and Abdul Rashid Ghazi
took over the mosque, making it a centre for hardline Sunni Deobandi
teaching and open opposition to the government. Abdul Aziz remained the official khatib of the masjid until he was removed in 2005 for issuing a controversial fatwa stating no Pakistani Army officer could be given an Islamic burial if died fighting the taliban.
The plot on which Lal Masjid was built was alloted by CDA. With the passage of time, the mosque administration encroached the surrounding area and a big complex like a fort was constructed. Due to influence and strong connections Lal Masjid have with the government high officials, the CDA remained unable to get the encroached land vacated till end 2006. In early 2007, CDA strongly persuaded and issued a vacation notice. Aziz and Rasheed, initiated move by taking possession of the Children Library located in the adjacent by using the female student force. These students were motivated in the name of religion and thus the visible conflict started. All this was to force the government to come to some compromise.
Some Pics of Infamous Lal Masjid Drama !