Thursday, July 13, 2017


The revival of the Lal Masjid Islamabad as the citadel of extremism exposes the lack of will to effectively deal with the menace of militancy. The mosque’s link with outlawed takfiri militant and sectarian groups is an open secret. But the allegiance of the Maulvi Abdul Aziz’s disciples to the Daesh is much more serious. Unsurprisingly, the intelligence warning and the open support for the global militant group by the women and girls in Jamia Hafsa are ignored by the administration. The impunity enjoyed by Abdul Aziz and other radical clerics raises fears of the capital returning to a 2007-like situation. The threat is much more serious with the mushroom growth of madressah populations in the city. It seems that the state has not learnt any lesson from the events that led to the bloody siege that shook the country.

These are the observations of eminent Pakistan journalist and analyst Zahid Hussain who has written on the Legacy of Lal Masjid in Dawn EOS section on July 9. He wrote:
An intelligence report last year warned that the Lal Masjid’s links with militant groups involved in terrorist activities presented a grave security threat. The report also cited a video message recorded by students of Jamia Hafsa pledging allegiance to the militant group, Daesh (ISIS).
Return to status quo?
Ironically, a decade after the bloody siege, Lal Masjid remains a symbol of radical Islam.
Abdul Aziz who incited armed rebellion against the state and sought to establish his own version of retrogressive Islamic order is now re-installed at the pulpits defending militant actions.
Most of the cases against the cleric have either been quashed by the courts or dropped by the government.
Clearly, the long arm of the law does not reach a proclaimed offender even if he defies the country’s Constitution and openly defends militant violence.

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