Maulana Aziz agrees to leave Lal Masjid
Authorities promise 20 kanals of land for Jamia Hafsa
Statesman Report
ISLAMABAD: Deposed khateeb of Lal Masjid Maulana Abdul Aziz agreed on Sunday to end his occupation of the mosque after three-day long negotiations with the Islamabad administration, who said that 20 kanals of land will be allotted to establish Jamia Hafsa.
The maulana is expected to leave by Tuesday.
A tense environment had prevailed over the weekend near the capital’s state-owned mosque, which has been occupied by its deposed Maulana Aziz, with the cleric’s supporters raising slogans amidst a heavy police presence.
The maulana remains holed up inside the mosque along with several female students. Police have cordoned off the area by placing barriers and barbed wires on the roads around the mosque.
Aziz occupies mosque
Maulana Aziz had returned to Lal Masjid around two weeks ago, reiterating his claim to be its prayer leader. The situation, however, turned serious on Thursday night when over a hundred female students entered the Jamia Hafsa in Islamabad’s Sector H-11 by breaking its official seal. As a result, officers from the capital administration approached Lal Masjid to meet Maulana Aziz. But talks remained inconclusive as the cleric insisted that a senior authority equivalent to a federal minister should negotiate with him.
On Saturday, in a bid to end the standoff, the proscribed Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) volunteered to play a role and met officials outside the state-run mosque, while security personnel met the Islamabad administration officials to defuse the situation. A delegation of ASWJ, led by its Islamabad president Hafeez Nazeer, came to Lal Masjid on Saturday and met the officers posted outside. The delegation assured the assistant commissioner of their support and cooperation for a peaceful solution to the standoff.
None of the sides seemed to back off from their positions as the followers of Maulana Aziz and the administration enhanced their strict posture possibly in a show of strength.