0
19

Taliban flag at Hafsa mosque, sedition case against Aziz, others

ISLAMABAD: The controversial Lal Masjid and its firebrand Maulana Abdul Aziz are back in the news – this time in defence of the Taliban flag. In a viral video, Aziz threatened policemen who arrived at Jamia Hafsa, a women’s madrasa, in Islamabad to remove the flag of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

In the clip circulating on social media, the cleric can be heard telling the policemen that ‘Pakistan’s Taliban’ will not spare them. He went on to suggest that they must leave their jobs if this is what they are expected to do. “Iss naukri ko chhodo… Allah aur achhi naukriyan dega,” he said.

The malulana and his collaborators have been booked under the Anti-Terrorism Act and different sections of Pakistan Penal Code.

Afghan Taliban flags are seen flying on the rooftop of Jamia Hafsa in Islamabad on Saturday. Girls students are also present there.

In another set of pictures, Aziz can be seen holding a rifle while sitting outside the madrasa. Scores of women were seen around and on Jamia Hafsa’s terrace amid the commotion.

According to a Dawn report, a case has been registered against Maulana Abdul Aziz, his collaborators as well as seminary students under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) and different sections of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) after flags representing the Afghan Taliban were found hoisted on the rooftop of Jamia Hafsa in G-7/3 on Saturday.

Talking to Dawn on condition of anonymity, officers of the capital administration and police confirmed that the case was registered after flags representing the Afghan Taliban were found hoisted on the rooftop of the seminary.

Maulana Abdul Aziz holds gun, threatens police force deployed at Jamia Hafsa.

The administrator of the seminary, Maulana Aziz, also openly threatened the police with dire consequences by using the name of Afghan Taliban. Besides, the seminary students and teachers challenged the police and taunted them with remarks, they added.

The case was registered with the Aabpara police station under the directives of a senior officer of the capital administration under section 7 of the ATA, 124-A (sedition) and 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the PPC and the arms ordinance, the officers said.

However, after registering the first information report (FIR), it was decided to seal it. From his Twitter handle, the deputy commissioner Islamabad said: “Area cleared, flags removed, case registered.”

This was the third time since Aug 21 the Afghan Taliban flags were hoisted on the seminary. Earlier, at least five white flags were found installed on the rooftop of the Jamia.

Girls students at Jamia Hafsa, Islamabad

After receiving information, the district administration sent a police contingent, including anti-riot unit, which cordoned off the seminary. To counter the presence of the police, a number of seminary students climbed on to the rooftop.

Besides, other students also reached outside the building, they said, adding that the students and teachers challenged the police and taunted them with remarks.

This created tension in the area but both sides restrained themselves from physical confrontation. Some people affiliated with the seminary, including Maulana Abdul Aziz, also displayed weapons.

Senior officers of the administration and police reached the spot and held talks with Maulana Aziz, the officers said, adding that after negotiations, the flags were removed from the rooftop.

Hoisting of any flag is not a crime, as there is no law which addresses the issue or under which legal action can be taken, the officers said, adding that the cleric took advantage of the legal lacuna.

However, hoisting flags of the Afghan Taliban on the building spread terror and insecurity among the local residents, they said.

Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid

Federal Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed on Monday said that the government resolved issues with Maulana Abdul Aziz through dialogue, as it wanted the situation in the capital to remain normal.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad on Monday, he said that there were several cases against Maulana Aziz but the government wanted the situation in the capital to remain normal. “That’s why we keep talking to them,” he said, adding that Maulana Aziz had an issue every other day.

“Every day he has an issue and every day we try to resolve it,” he said, adding that there were 511 madrassahs and 1,000 mosques in the capital. Out of 511, we have issues with only one which we resolve through dialogue.”

Without naming the entity he was referring to, the minister said that the government had made such efforts with another religious organisation. “However, the result of that was not a good one,” he said.

ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid addresses a press conference in Islamabad on Monday.

The minister’s statement comes days after police registered a case against Maulana Aziz, his collaborators as well as seminary students under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) and different sections of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) after flags representing the Afghan Taliban were found hoisted on the rooftop of Jamia Hafsa in G-7/3.

Maulana Aziz had also openly threatened police with dire consequences by using the name of the Afghan Taliban. However, after registering the first information report (FIR), it was decided to seal it. This was the third time since Aug 21 Afghan Taliban flags were hoisted on the seminary.

‘Security provided to NZ in Pakistan outnumbered their forces’

Commenting on the New Zealand cricket team’s recent decision to abandon its Pakistan tour minutes before the first match was scheduled to begin, the minister said that it was rich of the opposition to blame the government.

“Don’t throw stones at Sheikh Rashid of the Ministry of Interior while living in a glass house,” he said, adding that the cabinet had provided the New Zealand team with security by the Pakistan Army.

“They don’t have as many [people in their] forces as the number we provided for their security,” he said, adding that it was the government’s “responsibility” to do so.

He said that other teams had visited Pakistan in the past without any issues. He also called on the nation to not be disappointed, stating that the day will come when international teams will want to play in Pakistan.

The minister also questioned the “Five Eyes” alliance”, asking “where were the security experts when the New Zealand team was practicing here for three days”.

He reiterated that Pakistan’s security forces were among the world’s strongest agencies, saying there was no threat alert that prompted the Kiwis to abandon the tour at the last minute.

Rashid said Pakistan’s borders were peaceful, adding that “we have no refugee camp”.

He recalled that the prime minister had also expressed his intent during his Tajikistan visit to speak to the Taliban for forming an inclusive government in Afghanistan.

He called out India and others for hatching conspiracies against Pakistan over “their failures in Afghanistan”.