Rumours are circulating in the federal capital that Lal Masjid cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz has been placed under house arrest in a seminary near the mosque.
The rumours started after Maulana Aziz did not come to the Lal Masjid and delivered his Friday sermon via telephone.
After that, there were speculations that the cleric had been house arrested in Jamia Hafsa located near the mosque otherwise he would not have opted for the telephonic sermon. However, both the Islamabad police and the Lal Masjid administration rejected the rumours. It may be mentioned that after the Peshawar incident, Maulana Aziz stated that he cannot condemn the killing of the innocent children in Peshawar and neither considered them martyrs.
After the controversial statement, the civil society launched a protest campaign against the cleric. For two days, the protests were held in front of the mosque during which Maulana Aziz allegedly threatened the protesters. As a result, a case was registered against him. But even after the registration of the case, the civil society continued holding protests demanding that the cleric should be arrested and removed as the head of the mosque.
In the meantime, a local court issued warrants for the arrest of Maulana Aziz but the cleric said he would neither apply for a bail nor would surrender to the police. His statement further triggered anger among the civil society activists. They were of the view that the police were not arresting the cleric because of his influence. The rumours mongers also said because of the influence of the cleric, the police could not arrest him even though warrants for his arrest had been issued.
When contacted, Senior Superintendent of Police (operations) Mir Viaz Niaz said the cleric had not been house arrested. Lal Masjid’s naib khateeb Maulana Amir Siddique confirmed to Dawn that Maulana Aziz delivered a telephonic speech during the Friday prayers. “It is not correct that Maulana has been house arrested. He deliberately did not come to the mosque because of the current situation and tension in the city. He wants to normalise the situation and does not want to increase tension in the city,” he said.