Lal Masjid’s patron-in-chief Maulana Abdul Aziz is going to address the Friday sermon at the mosque on May 11, after a hiatus of over three years.
According to a statement issued by the Shuhada Foundation of the mosque, the notorious cleric last addressed a Friday sermon at the mosque in December 2014, expressed hope that the capital city administration will not forbid him from addressing as he was the legal ‘khateeb’ of the mosque, and he had been acquitted by the courts in all cases against him in January last year.
The Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration, however, stated earlier that Maulana Abdul Aziz had ceased to be the khateeb of the mosque after the orders of his appointment were withdrawn in 2004, following a fatwa he issued against the army and its operation in Waziristan.
Last year, authorities prohibited Maulana Abdul Aziz from presiding over a conference to mark the 10th anniversary of Lal Masjid operation, declaring it as an ‘unregistered entity’ and Aziz had already been deposed as the khateeb.
The foundation had at that announced that the conference would be a major step towards “the implementation of Sharia in the country.”
In a similar situation, a conference was held by the deposed cleric on March 24, 2017, but all roads leading to the Lal Masjid were blocked by the government on that day.
Earlier in March this year, the Supreme Court (SC) rejected a plea filed by Lal Masjid cleric Abdul Aziz seeking the imposition of Sharia law in the country.
The Lal Masjid operation was launched in 2007, after militant (male and female) students residing inside Lal Masjid killed a Pakistan Rangers personnel posted outside the mosque on July 3, 2007. Female students had taken refuge at the Children Library under the banner of Jamia Hafsa.
The operation was launched by the army commandos in the early hours of July 10 and was completed on July 11.
A number of cases were registered against Aziz in the aftermath of the operation.