Pakistan

Takfiri Deobandi Cleric Of Lal Masjid Acquitted In All Cases

lal masjidTakfiri Deobandi /Wahabi chief cleric of Lal Masjid, was acquitted from his last case on Monday by a judicial magistrate of Islamabad, Mohammad Naveed Khan.
Since 2001, 27 different cases had been registered against Maulana Aziz, and the last one was registered on April 1, 2007 by the Kohsar police.
The first of the 27 cases against Takfiri Deobandi cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz and his associates was registered on September 28, 2001, for delivering fiery speeches.
Between 2001 and 2005, the police registered 10 cases of which five were registered under different sections of the Anti Terrorism Act 1997.
The remaining five were withdrawn before 2007.
However, 22 cases were later registered against the cleric between January and July, 2007.
The last case registered against the cleric stated that he had threatened shopkeepers of Aabpara and Jinnah Super for selling movies containing indecent content.
In this regard, the prosecution produced 60 witnesses against Maulana Aziz.
However, when the relevant witnesses, including the shopkeepers, were produced before the court, they disowned the prosecution’s story and claimed that Maulana Aziz had never threatened them or visited their shops.
Maulana Wajihullah advocate, counsel of Maulana Aziz, after the cleric’s acquittal told Dawn that former president General (retired) Pervez Musharraf had forced the police to register fake cases against the cleric and his family members.
He said Maulana Aziz and his family members had now been acquitted from all fake cases but Gen Musharraf himself was still facing trials.
Muhammad Abdul Aziz is the son of Maulana Muhammad Abdullah, the first prayer leader of Lal-Masjid. He is descended from Sadwani clan of Mazari tribe in the town of Rojhan at the border of southern Punjab and Balochistan. Pakistan’s last military ruler, General Zia-ul-Haq, was said to be very close to Maulana Abdullah. Aziz came to Islamabad as a six-year-old boy from his home town in Punjab, when his father was appointed Khateeb of Lal-Masjid in 1966. He grew up in the liberal atmosphere of Islamabad. After studying for few years in a public school, he was later sent to Karachi to study in the most renowned religious seminary. He is recognized as a religious scholar by his contemporaries.
Maulana Abdul Aziz served as officially designated prayer leader in government constructed and owned Lal-Masjid until 2005 when he was dismissed from service (but never removed) after he issued a “fatwa” (religious decree) against the army officers who were fighting against the Taliban and their supporters in the tribal areas close to the Afghan border.
In the fatwa he declared that none of the army officers who were killed in the fighting in tribal area was a martyr and religious sanctions were not available for their funeral. His fatwa irked the government and he was dismissed from service. But in fact, the government has not attempted to remove him from his post. A replacement cleric was appointed for Lal-Masjid, but female supporters refused to pray behind anyone other than Aziz.
It is speculated that President Musharraf did not want to stir up popular unrest in an already tense national political atmosphere due to massive support for Aziz within Islamabad.
Since January 2007, his activities became more political than religious. He constantly issued fatwas on various public affairs and created the Lal Masjid brigade from students of Jamia Hafsa. He closely followed the supreme leader of the Taliban, Mullah Omar, and typically resisted being photographed.

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