Lal Masjid cleric acquitted in four cases


A local court on Monday acquitted the chief cleric of Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) in four cases out of a total of 12 registered against him for allegedly committing various crimes, including challenging the government writ and keeping illegal arms.
Civil Judge and Judicial Magistrate Kashif Qayyum Sheikh acquitted Maulana Abdul Aziz in the cases, which were registered against him by Aabpara Police Station for delivering provocative speeches against the Musharraf-led government, his participation in issuance of edict against the Wanna operation, keeping illegal arms in his drawing room and kidnapping and housing the policemen in Lal Mosque.
The counsel for the cleric, Wajeeh Ullah Khan, contended that his client was innocent and former president Pervez Musharraf implicated him in fake cases due to his opposition to his government.
The prosecution presented nine witnesses in the case. In a case registered against Aziz in 2005, it alleged that Aziz delivered provocative speeches against the then government, during the protest organised by Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal led by former MNA Mian Muhammad Aslam, which sparked anger among protesters against the government. They damaged the motorbikes of police and also injured the police officials.
In two cases against the Red Mosque cleric in 2004 and 2005, the prosecutors alleged that on July 19, 2005, police conducted a raid on Lal Masjid to arrest Aziz and his brother Maulana Abdul Rashid Ghazi but they fled the scene; however, police recovered arms and weapons from their drawing room while in other case it was alleged that Maulana create resistance in his arrest when police raid at the Lal Mosque.
The defence counsel contended that neither the Aziz brothers fled the scene nor they kept illegal weapons and arms.
However, in the fourth case registered in 2007, the prosecution charged that during a Friday sermon in June 2007, the Maulana threatened the government for carrying suicide attacks, if it tried to demolish Lal Mosque and Jamia Hafsa.
The defence counsel submitted that the prosecution could not present enough witness and proofs against his client, adding that the recording of Maulana’s speeches was also not presented by the prosecution before the court.
After hearing the arguments, Civil Judge Kashif Qayyum Sheikh acquitted Maulana Abdul Aziz in the said four cases while reserved the judgment on two other cases.