Case registered against Lal Masjid cleric for hoisting Taliban flag
Islamabad: The police in Pakistan have registered a case against the influential hardline cleric of a highly-sensitive seminary for hoisting the flag of the Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan (IEA) in Islamabad.
Maulana Abdul Aziz, a well-known hardline cleric and an outspoken supporter of the Taliban, hoisted the Taliban flag over Jamia Hafsa seminary, a religious school for females in Islamabad.
As per details, the police have registered a case against Aziz, charging him with sedition and terrorism after he refused to remove the flag from the seminary. More details revealed that Aziz and his supporters had blocked the police from entering the building. However, the capital’s Deputy Commissioner later tweeted and confirmed that the flag has been removed, the area has been cleared and a case has been registered against the cleric.
Aziz’s open support to the Taliban is an open secret as in 2007, he was served with a two-year prison term for having close links with the Al-Qaeda and leading a rebellion group at the Jamia Hafsa and the Red Mosque.
In 2007, a major operation was carried out in which dozens of people, including the younger brother of Aziz, was killed.
Aziz remains an open supporter of the Taliban and demands the imposition of Islamic Shriah system in the country. His affiliation and affinity with the Taliban can be well-established with the fact that a library in the Red Mosque is named after Osama Bin Laden, which honours him as a martyr.
The Red mosque has remained closed since the 2007 offensive. However, Aziz remains loud and clear about his demands and for his support of the Taliban.
Aziz still enjoys widespread support from the people. However, since 2007, he has not been allowed to give sermons at the Red mosque.
“We have worked for the establishment of an Islamic system of governance in Pakistan before, and we will continue our efforts,” Aziz said in a statement.
The latest incident has raised serious concerns over the support that clerics like Aziz render to the Taliban as they have a massive following and most are running huge seminaries with thousands of students.
The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August this year has seen a celebratory response from many in Pakistan, with locals, clerics and even some politicians expressing their happiness over the developments in the neighbouring country, what they call a major loss of NATO and the United States.
This sentiment and an unmarked support for the Taliban makes the challenge to counter the probabilities of threats of a pro-Taliban uproar or an assault or an offensive even more difficult for the Pakistani security forces.