Tag Archives: Lal Masjid

Security beefed up as Lal Masjid cleric launches fresh movement in Islamabad

BY SHAKEEL QARAR

ISLAMABAD: A heavy contingent of police and Rangers was deployed in the areas surrounding Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa in the federal capital city to maintain law and order, following an announcement by cleric Abdul Aziz to hold a rally.

The rally announced by Lal Masjid cleric Abdul Aziz, in an earlier press release, was held to mark the initiation of a movement towards enforcement of a system based on the Holy Quran and Sunnah after Friday prayers today.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1219429

Banned ASWJ ends protest as Islamabad police forms team to probe murders

By SHAKEEL QARAR

ISLAMABAD: The banned Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) marched from Lal Masjid to the Parliament House on Friday in protest of “target killings and kidnappings” of its representatives.

The proscribed outfit marched today to protest against what it called a recent surge in acts of violence against its representatives. The march was led by ASWJ Islamabad President Ghulam Mustafa Baloch in light of which police cordoned off the street near the headquarters of the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) with containers.

Following a dialogue with the Islamabad police, the outfit agreed to end its protest after an assurance was given that the murders of its workers would be probed. The additional deputy commission Islamabad, the SSP and other police officials said that a special investigation team to be led by SP Captain (retd) Ilyas was being formed to investigate the killings.

ASWJ, a reincarnation of the banned Sunni militant group Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), had been banned in Feb 2012.

Despite the ban, the ASWJ continues to operate in the country with religious conferences and demonstrations held in different cities from time to time and no apparent action from the authorities.

Read more: Banned outfit operates with impunity in Chakwal

Last month, lawyer and activist Jibran Nasir led a protest against ASWJ’s activities, bringing attention to the government’s negligence towards following due process of law.

ASWJ representatives have been targeted in three incidents of sectarian violence this year. Two days ago, senior ASWJ leader Dr Mohammad Fayyaz Khan was gunned down in Karachi.

According to data compiled by the South Asian Terrorism Portal, 112 people have been killed and 140 injured in incidents of sectarian violence in Pakistan since the beginning of 2015.

The Sunni Supreme Council had, at the end of February, announced the launch of a protest movement against sectarian killings and terrorism in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, but the province-wide protest has not picked up impetus outside of KP.

Courtesy: DAWN.COM
Read more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1167784/banned-aswj-ends-protest-as-islamabad-police-forms-team-to-probe-murders

Civil society protesters, led by Jibran Nasir, ‘arrested’ during Karachi sit-in

KARACHI: Jibran Nasir and members of the civil society weer reportedly arrested after resuming the Shikarpur sit-in  outside the CM house in Karachi, pressing the government to take swift action against Ahl-e-Sunnat-wal Jamaat’s (ASWJ) solidarity rally on Kashmir Day.

At the Kashmir Day rally, ASWJ allegedly threatened members of the civil society as well as the Sindh government for unnecessarily terming them a banned organisation.

https://soundcloud.com/moh…/aswj-threatening-civil-society

The civil society’s 31-hour-long protest outside the CM house, from earlier this week, came to an end Tuesday night, after Special Assistant to the Chief Minister on Culture Sharmila Farooqi promised that the provincial government will take stern action against “banned” militant organisations, including ASWJ.

No official notification, however, has been taken out by the home department to outlaw ASWJ.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, “The charter of demands we came with initially has failed. But this time, we won’t stop. We will continue our sit-in till justice is served,” Nasir said.

“We’ll do a hunger strike if we have to. Allowing ASWJ, or any other outfit that insights violence, to carry out political activities openly, is a violation of the law,” he added.

Read more » The Express Tribune
Learn more » http://tribune.com.pk/story/833400/civil-society-protesters-led-by-jibran-nasir-arrested-during-sit-in-outside-cm-house/#.VNOCf7JOr_E.facebook

Mosque versus state

By Pervez Hoodbhoy

THE mosque in Pakistan is now no longer just a religious institution. Instead it has morphed into a deeply political one that seeks to radically transform culture and society. Actively assisted by the state in this mission in earlier decades, the mosque is a powerful actor over which the state now exercises little authority. Some have been captured by those who fight the government and military. An eviscerated, embattled state finds it easier to drop bombs on the TTP in tribal Waziristan than to rein in its urban supporters, or to dismiss from state payroll those mosque leaders belonging to militant groups.

Very few Pakistanis have dared to criticise the country’s increasingly powerful mosque establishment although they do not spare the Pakistan Army and the country’s political leaders for their many shortcomings. For example, following the Army Public School massacre, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s promise to regulate the madressahs was immediately criticised as undoable. Had he instead suggested that Pakistan’s mosques be brought under state control as in Saudi Arabia, Iran and several Muslim countries, it would have been dismissed as belonging to even beyond the undoable.

The state’s timidity was vividly exposed in its handling of the 2007 bloody insurrection, launched from inside Islamabad’s central mosque, Lal Masjid, barely a mile from the heart of Pakistan’s government. It was a defining point in Pakistan’s history. The story of the Lal Masjid insurrection, its bloody ending, and subsequent rebound is so critical to understanding the limitations of Pakistan’s fight against terrorism that it deserves to be told once again.

Very few Pakistanis have dared to criticise the country’s increasingly powerful mosque establishment.

In early January 2007, the two head clerics of the Lal Masjid demanded the immediate rebuilding of eight illegally constructed mosques knocked down by the civic authorities. Days later, an immediate enforcement of Sharia in Islamabad was demanded. Armed vigilante groups from Jamia Hafsa and nearby madressahs kidnapped ordinary citizens and policemen, threatened shopkeepers, burned CDs and videos, and repeated the demands of tribal militants fighting the Pakistan Army.

At a meeting held in Lal Masjid on April 6, 2007, it was reported that 100 guest religious leaders from across the country pledged to die for the cause of Islam and Sharia. On April 12, in an illegal FM broadcast from the mosque’s own radio station, the clerics issued a threat to the government: “There will be suicide blasts in every nook and cranny of the country. We have weapons, grenades and we are expert in manufacturing bombs. We are not afraid of death….”

The brothers Abdul Aziz and Abdur Rashid Ghazi, who headed the Lal Masjid, had attracted a core of militant organisations around them, including the pioneer of suicide bombings in the region, Jaish-e-Mohammad. Their goal was to change Pakistan’s culture. On April 12, 2007, Rashid Ghazi, a former student of Quaid-i-Azam University, broadcast the following chilling message to our female students:

“The government should abolish co-education. Quaid-i-Azam University has become a brothel. Its female professors and students roam in objectionable dresses. They will have to hide themselves in hijab otherwise they will be punished according to Islam…. Our female students have not issued the threat of throwing acid on the uncovered faces of women. However, such a threat could be used for creating the fear of Islam among sinful women. There is no harm in it.

Continue reading Mosque versus state

Pakistan must believe that the darkest hour is just before the dawn

In post-Peshawar Pakistan, we have to believe that the darkest hour is just before the dawn

By REEMA ABBASI

Remembering murders and massacres past to demand justice was a sad challenge this week.

On January 4 – a date that should be declared ‘Salmaan Taseer Day’ – a peaceful vigil in central Lahore was held to honour the fourth anniversary of the province’s assassinated governor.

However, the memorial was attacked by Mumtaz Qadri’s supporters, who reportedly belonged to a banned terror outfit.

The scene was as tragic as it was violent. Placards such as “ST hum sharminda hain, tumhara qaatil zinda hai” were set ablaze as baton-wielding villains pounded participants, including campaigners of renown.

Though crazed with hate, their rampage was not without the blessings of the Punjab government and the police.

However, post-Peshawar Pakistan is another country. Hence, where such an incident would previously have sent mourners home, this time the miscreants defeated their own purpose.

Their assault sent the crowd to procure an FIR against the mob. So far, over 40 suspects have been arrested.

The atrocity, along with the ongoing saga of the Lal Masjid cleric, Abdul Aziz, is yet another testament to Punjab being the hotbed of fanaticism. It shows that the malaise has infiltrated the law enforcement apparatus and thrives in state espousal.

Punjab has witnessed the mushrooming of groups such as the Tehreek-e-Tahafuz-e-Khatme-Nabuwat, and the nation is keen to see the outcome of current civil-society-led movements geared to bring militants to book.

At this stage, we can only believe in the adage that the darkest hour is before dawn.

But if Sharif does not seize the moment to channelise public rage towards a new horizon, Pakistan may be doomed to see history repeat itself. 

— The writer is a Karachi-based author and journalist

Courtesy: Daily Maily

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-2902723/In-post-Peshawar-Pakistan-believe-darkest-hour-just-dawn.html#ixzz3OSQzF4JU

Suicide attack threats again ring out of Lal Masjid

 

By Kalbe Ali

ISLAMABAD: Maulana Abdul Aziz of Lal Masjid has blamed two persons for whipping up the furore over his remark that the massacre of schoolchildren in Peshawar was a “reaction” to the military operation against militants.

“This campaign against me is a conspiracy hatched by Amin Shaheedi and Faisal Raza Abidi,” he told the Friday congregation, adding that “I warn that they are testing our patience”.

Journalist Raza Bangash, who was among the media persons covering the event, told Dawn that the maulana “also remarked that people who had gone astray construed his opinion as a confessional statement”.

Maulana Amin Shaheedi and Raza Abidi, whom Maulana Aziz accused of fanning public sentiments against him, are, respectively, leader of Majlis Wahdat Muslimeen (MWM – Unity of Muslims Council) and a former PPP senator.

Many congregation members and Raza said Maulana Aziz criticised the members of civil society who protested his views outside the Lal Masjid the previous day and had planned more protests on Friday evening against him equating the victims of terrorism and those killed for terrorism.

Maulana Aziz poured sarcasm on the civil society people demonstrating and lighting candles for the Peshawar dead and said they should also have felt pain for the 86 madressah students killed in Waziristan and other deaths in military operations.

“He stated that any attempt to harm him or arrest him would lead to an uncontrollable situation in the country,” the official told Dawn.

“My brother, his family and many people dear to me and a large number of students were killed in army operation here (in Lal Masjid in 2007), but I did not raise such hue and cry,” he said.

Maulana Aziz suggested to the military and political leadership to negotiate peace with the Taliban, ostensibly for a more worthy cause.

Continue reading Suicide attack threats again ring out of Lal Masjid

Infuriated civil society demands arrest of Lal Masjid cleric

ISLAMABAD: A large number of civil society protesters gathered outside the Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) in protest against remarks of the mosque cleric who declined to condemn the barbaric Peshawar attack that claimed lives of over 130 children,ARY News reported.

The protesters said they would got the FIR registered against Red Mosque cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz for his hate remarks.

The peaceful protesters said the capital administration must immediately arrest the cleric for his remarks supporting Taliban who massacred innocent children.

Read more » ARY News
Learn more » http://arynews.tv/en/infuriated-civil-society-demands-arrest-lal-masjid-cleric/

Local Taliban raid video shop, burn CDs in Islamabad

By Shakeel Anjum

ISLAMABAD: Fear and panic gripped the area when a group of local Taliban belonging to Lal Masjid raided a video cassettes shop in Bhara Kahu, an Islamabad area, and burnt CDs and video cassettes on Saturday evening.

The Bhara Kahu police, on the complaint of the locals, have arrested three Taliban from the scene and registered an FIR under the Anti-Terrorist Act (ATA), while more than 10 Taliban managed to escape.

A witness told this correspondent on the condition of anonymity that a group of Taliban, carrying batons, reached Nai Abadi of Bhara Kahu in a Toyota pickup bearing registration number Peshawar 3868. “Jamia Faridia and Jamia Hafsa was written in bold letters on the vehicle,” the witness added.

The Taliban entered Al-Awan video shop and threw CDs and video cassettes out of the shop. Later, they chanted slogans in favour of Islamisation and against the rulers and set the stuff on fire, he said.

Continue reading Local Taliban raid video shop, burn CDs in Islamabad

Qadri has returned to subvert electoral process: Nawaz

PML-N Chief Nawaz Sharif.
PML-N Chief Nawaz Sharif.

LAHORE: Referring to Tehreek-e-Minhajul Quran chief Tahirul Qadri, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif has said that the “Sheikhul Islam” had come to Pakistan to subvert the electoral process and create anarchy in the country. Talking to media after meeting with the Jamhoori Watan Party (JWP) chief, Talal Akbar Bugti, on Thursday, the former prime minister said that the threat to hold a long march by Dr Qadri just ten weeks before the general elections appeared to be a conspiracy to create hurdles in the election process. “The Canadian national (Qadri) wants to derail democracy, which will not be allowed. A few people cannot hold hostage the entire nation,” he said. Nawaz said that the long march would create chaos in the country, which had already been hit by severe challenges.

Continue reading Qadri has returned to subvert electoral process: Nawaz

Who killed Gen. Alvi?

LAHORE: The authorities investigating the murder of Maj-Gen (retd) Amir Faisal Alvi, former General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the elite Special Services Group (SSG), by two unidentified gunmen in Rawalpindi do not rule out the possibility of involvement of some pro-Taliban militants in the assassination.

Once considered close to former president Pervez Musharraf, Maj-Gen Faisal Alvi was the first General Officer Commanding of the elite Special Services Group, and had also commanded the elite group as a brigadier. The first Pakistani major-general to have captained the Armed Forces Skydiving Team (AFST), Alvi was forcibly retired from the Army on disciplinary grounds ‘for conduct unbecoming’ by Gen Musharraf in August 2005.

The authorities suspect the involvement of a sectarian organisation linked to Taliban and the al-Qaeda in the murder, as Maj-Gen Alvi had been involved in several major military operations conducted by the SSG commandos in the restive Waziristan region.

The authorities believe the murder has symbolic significance as Alvi used to be a high-profile officer of the Special Services Group — an independent commando division of the Pakistan Army, which had carried out the high-profile Lal Masjid operation in Islamabad against the fanatic Ghazi brothers and their followers …..

Read more » The News

http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=18472&Cat=13&dt=11/20/2008

Via – Twitter

A must read article of Khaled Ahmed – Fallout from Arsalangate

Fallout from Arsalangate

By Khaled Ahmed

The PPP government was already in the dock for corruption. Arsalangate dragged some other entities into it: the army, the media, and the chief justice

Malik Riaz Hussain, arguably the biggest real estate developer in Pakistan with ‘connections’, decided to reveal that he had been blackmailed by the son of Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and had allegedly been forced to spend nearly Rs 40 crore on him. He used journalists of a media house on a social media website to deniably make his case, after which the country witnessed a full-blown media scandal undermining the authority and credibility of the Supreme Court.

Called to the Supreme Court on suo motu, Malik Riaz submitted evidence of payments made to Dr Arsalan Iftikhar. He then went on TV and made additional allegations, some of them implying that Chief Justice Chaudhry may have been aware of what was going on. In answer, Dr Arsalan Iftikhar claimed that he had never met Malik Riaz and that he had received no payments from him or his relatives to finance his clearly lavish holidays abroad. Chief Justice Chaudhry expressed his complete lack of knowledge of all this.

The linguistic divide: One partisan of the debate that followed stated: ‘The Chief Justice took suo motu notice of the case and presided over the Bench while in the complete knowledge of the code of conduct of Judges. Given the experience and acumen of My Lord, the Chief Justice, one can say to a moral certainty that he would be aware of the general principle and the specific provision of the code of conduct, which requires judges not to hear matters involving immediate family members’. This comment was in English.

The first divide became visible on the subject and it was linguistic. In Urdu, the issue was addressed in the light of the example of Hazrat Umar who presided over the trial of his son and punished him with his own hands. This linguistic split – which is the most glaring ideological bifurcation in the country – was followed by politicians squaring off against one another: the PMLN and Tehreek Insaf announced themselves on the side of Chief Justice. They accused the ruling PPP of having engineered entrapment through Malik Riaz to get rid of the Chief Justice.

First Army, then TV Anchors: The media rallied to the defence of the Chief Justice. Most of the TV anchors thought it was a conspiracy to challenge the Chief Justice because he had made pointed investigations into “disappearances” in Balochistan. The implication was that the Army was offended and wanted the judge to ‘lay off’, and had used Malik Riaz to make revelations about Arsalan whose reputation was already subject of rumours in Pakistan for some time.

Continue reading A must read article of Khaled Ahmed – Fallout from Arsalangate

Pakistan is showing its helplessness in the face of those who carry guns & bombs

Lal Masjid: rewarding an insurrection

By Pervez Hoodbhoy

The honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan says he is losing patience with the Capital Development Authority (CDA). In a court-initiated (suo motu) action, he wants a quick rebuilding of the Jamia Hafsa madrassa, flattened by bulldozers in 2007, after it became the centre of an insurgency. A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, headed by the CJ, is now dragging procrastinators over the coals by issuing notices to the CDA chairman, Islamabad’s chief commissioner and the interior secretary. The Court has also expressed its “displeasure” over the status of police cases against the Lal Masjid clerics and ordered the deputy attorney general to appear before it next week.

It is dangerous to comment on Pakistan’s highest level of judiciary. So let me solemnly declare that the highest wisdom must lie behind this extraordinary judicial activism. Nevertheless, I must confess my puzzlement because — as was seen by all — Lal Masjid and the adjoining Jamia Hafsa had engaged in a full-scale bloody insurrection against the Pakistani government, state, and public. Hundreds died. That those who led the insurrection should be gifted 20 kanals of the choicest land in sector H-11 of Islamabad is, I think, slightly odd.

Such thoughts crossed my mind last week when a flat tyre occasioned me to walk along the outer periphery of the freshly-painted and rebuilt Red Mosque. I momentarily stopped to read a large wind and rain-weathered monument which, placed on the government-owned land that Jamia Hafsa once stood upon, declares (in Urdu) that “The sacred Islamic worship place here was destroyed by a tyrannical ruler to prevent Sharia from becoming the law”.

The story of the insurrection and its tragic end is well-known. In early January 2007, the Lal Masjid had demanded the immediate rebuilding of eight illegally-constructed mosques that had been knocked down by the CDA. Days later, an immediate enforcement of the Sharia system in Islamabad was demanded. Thereafter, armed vigilante groups from this madrassa roamed the streets and bazaars. They kidnapped ordinary citizens and policemen, threatened shopkeepers, and repeated the demands of the Taliban and other tribal militants fighting the Pakistan Army.

At a meeting held in Lal Masjid on April 6, 2007, it was reported that 100 guest religious leaders from across the country pledged to die for the cause of Islam and Sharia. On April 12, in an FM broadcast, the clerics issued a threat to the government: “There will be suicide blasts in the nook and cranny of the country. We have weapons, grenades and we are expert in manufacturing bombs. We are not afraid of death….”

Lal Masjid was headed by two clerics, the brothers Maulana Abdul Aziz and Maulana Abdur Rashid Ghazi. They had attracted a core of militant organisations around them, including the pioneer of suicide bombings in the region, Jaish-e-Muhammad. Also on April 12 2007, Rashid Ghazi, a former student of my university, broadcast the following chilling message to our female students:

The government should abolish co-education. Quaid-e-Azam University has become a brothel. Its female professors and students roam in objectionable dresses. They will have to hide themselves in hijab otherwise they will be punished according to Islam…. Our female students have not issued the threat of throwing acid on the uncovered faces of women. However, such a threat could be used for creating the fear of Islam among sinful women. There is no harm in it. There are far more horrible punishments in the Hereafter for such women.”

For months, unhindered by General Musharraf’s government, the Lal Masjid operated a parallel government that was barely a mile or two away from the presidency and parliament. Its minions ran an unlicenced FM radio station, occupied a government building, set up a parallel system of justice, made bonfires out of seized cassettes and CDs, received the Saudi Arabian ambassador on the mosque premises, and negotiated with the Chinese ambassador for the release of his country’s kidnapped nationals. But for the subsequent outrage expressed by Pakistan’s all-weather ally, the status quo would have continued indefinitely.

Nevertheless, our courts say that they cannot find any evidence of wrongdoing during the entire six-month long saga. They say there are no witnesses or acceptable evidence. Abdul Aziz and Umme Hassan (his wife, who heads Jamia Hafsa), therefore, stand exonerated. Also lacking, they say, is proof that the Lal Masjid accused possessed heavy weaponry.

But Islamabad’s residents know better. When the showdown came in July 2007, machine guns chattered away as mortars and rocket launchers exchanged their deadly fire. Copious TV coverage shows armed madrassa students putting on gas masks to avoid the dense smoke. The final push left 10 of Pakistan’s crack SSG commandos dead, together with scores of defenders. A tidal wave of suicide attacks — as promised by the clerics — promptly followed.

Some speculate that the land gifted to Aziz and Hassan is actually the price for keeping hornets inside their nest. This is not impossible because suicide bomb attacks inside Pakistan’s major cities have decreased dramatically in the last two years. The authorities claim credit, saying the reason is better intelligence about violent groups and better policing. But anyone driving through Islamabad knows how trivially easy it is to conceal weapons and explosives; the security measures are certainly a nuisance to citizens but hopelessly ineffective otherwise. So, could the H-11 land offer be part of a much wider peace deal with various militant groups?

The temptation to make deals has grown after the battle for Lal Masjid. It is clear who won and who lost. Even as they fought tooth and nail against the Pakistan Army, the madrassa clerics were never dismissed and continued to receive their full government salaries. On the other hand, General Musharraf — who acted only after things went out of control — now sulks in exile. All madrassa curriculum reform plans are dead; the government does not talk about them anymore — let the clerics teach what they want.

Appeasement is the hallmark of a weak state and dithering leadership. Once again, Pakistan is showing its helplessness in the face of those who carry guns and bombs. For a country alleged to have the world’s fastest growing nuclear arsenal, this is surely ironical.

Courtesy: The Express Tribune, May 21st, 2012.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/381761/lal-masjid-rewarding-an-insurrection/

..that was where they were wrong..

by Omar Ali

A lot of the parents were poor and had simply sent their kids away to get free food and lodging and didn’t really know too much about the ideology, but what were Ghazi and his brother doing with these children? How many were in the mosque at the time of the operation? I have heard from the army side that the army made every effort to prevent excessive casualties and that the “children” were not young children but were teenagers who mostly opted to stay behind as their jihadi duty. You may not be aware of the ideology of the mosque, but the “children” were not being taught Shakespeare. They were being taught Jihadi Islam; and while some of them may have been there just for the free board and lodge, some of them must have believed wjat they were being taught and may have been ready to die (and kill) for it..

The mosque was under siege for several weeks before the operation and in the last 2-3 days an operation seemed very likely. There were armed men on top of the mosque and commandos all around it and an SSG officer was killed by fire from the mosque. In these circumstances, why would people leave their children in the mosque “to learn”? To learn what? siegecraft? Of course, the sad fact is that some of the children probably had nowhere else to go. Those are the ones I feel bad about. Held hostage by Ghazi and company and with no way to get out and no parents able to come and get them out.

Some of the poor parents who COULD possibly go to Islamabad and get their kids out may have been misled by the belief that the jihadi Pak army would never kill jihadis in a mosque…that was where they were wrong..

Courtesy: – CRDP , May 4, 2010