Lal Masjid cleric doubles down after warning over ‘Sharia’ campaign


Lal Masjid’s infamous cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz announced on Sunday that he would continue his movement for implementation of ‘Sharia Law’ despite warnings issued by the district administration against his latest campaign which he launched on Friday.

Maulana Abdul Aziz and his wife Umme Hassan held a rally on Friday as part of their campaign even as the local administration warned that the cleric’s activities could put him behind bars.

On Sunday, the cleric released a video saying that he would go ahead with his plans.

“Pakistan was created for the Islamic system but has been far away from Islam since birth,” Aziz said in his video.

“I demand a committee be formed to determine if the present British-era judicial system is in accordance with Quran and Sunnah,” Aziz is seen asking in the 25-minute video.

The prayer leader said nothing could deter him from his mission, adding he wanted to tell the government and all the state institutions his movement for the implementation of the teachings of Quran and Sunnah will continue.

“I demand enforcement of Quran and Sunnah as it a constitutional obligation,” he said, and offered himself for an open trial if there is any case pending against him. “I want to put myself on trial but that should be in line with Islamic Sharia.”

Aziz insisted any trial against him should be held in accordance with Sharia, saying he will give in black and white an undertaking he would accept any kind of punishment.

The cleric also demanded an end to the interest-based banking system, bringing the media in conformity with the Quran and Sunnah and placing religious scholars in the courts.

Aziz also accused Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan of following a ‘flawed democratic system’. “Remove all centres of vulgarity and release all those languishing in jails without any cases,” he said.

A heavy contingent of police and Rangers was deployed on Friday in the areas surrounding Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa in Islamabad in the wake of the cleric’s announcement to restart his campaign.

Aziz was to lead a procession following the Friday prayers, however, the district administration as a preemptive measure warned of arresting him under Section 3 of the Maintenance of Public Order and Section II-EE of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) if he failed to abide by the law.

Earlier, the students of Jamia Hafsa, in a video message, had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) Chief Abu Bakar al-Baghdadi and invited him to ‘avenge’ the 2007 military raid on Lal Masjid.

In December last year, the Aabpara police registered a case against Aziz for criminal intimidation, and the government withdrew the official security he had enjoyed for three years.



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