Pro-Taliban cleric receives controversial arrest warrant

SHAFAQNA – A Pakistani court has issued an arrest warrant for a hardline Islamic cleric who suggested the massacre of school children in country’s worst ever terror attack was understandable, after he allegedly threatened people criticising him.

A Pakistani Judge has issued an arrest warrant for the arrest of Maulana Abdul Aziz, the controversial cleric who runs the radical “Red mosque” in Islamabad.

The arrest warrant comes after a week of protest carried out by the civil society of the country demanding the arrest of the cleric after his comments regarding the massacre in an Army Public School in Peshawar, which claimed the lives of 146 people.

The protests were staged to denounce Aziz, who refused to condemn the massacre on a television talk-show.

But Aziz does not appear too worried. “There have been several operations in Pakistan,” the cleric told Channel NewsAsia. “Our experience tells us that one may momentarily feel that these operations have achieved something. But later on it is realised that they have brought more harm than good.”

“Police have received the court order and we are trying our best to implement it,” a police official in capital Islamabad told AFP, requesting anonymity as he was not authorised to talk to media.

Hafiz Ihtesham Ahmed, a spokesman for the Red Mosque accused civil society activists of pressurising police to register a case against Aziz. “This case has no grounds, so we will resist any move to arrest Maulana Abdul Aziz,” Ahmed told AFP.

Abdul Aziz, who was also the cleric at the time of the operation which was carried out during the Musharraf regime in 2007. The mosque had kidnapped several foreign nationals and police officers and were threatening the capital with imposing a Shari’ah law by force, if the government did not enforce it themselves.




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