Karachi: MQM chief Altaf Hussain on Friday called for the arrest of the chief cleric of the controversial Lal Masjid in Islamabad for his statement supporting the Pakistani Taliban.
Maulana Abdul Aziz, the hardline cleric of the infamous Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) in Islamabad, earlier today stoked a fresh controversy by calling the military offensive against Taliban militants in the North Waziristan region "un-Islamic".
Even as hundreds of civil society activists demonstrated outside the mosque and demanded registration of an FIR against Aziz for supporting terrorists, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Hussain told thousands of supporters and party members in Karachi that Aziz should be put behind bars.
Addressing a massive rally organised to show solidarity with the armed forces, the MQM chief said the time was over to show any mercy to terrorists or those who sympathise or support them.
"Maulana Aziz should have been arrested and tried when the Lal Masjid operation took place. It is people like him and some religious seminaries which are supporting and breeding terrorists in Pakistan," Hussain said.
He said the Pakistan Army should expand its operation in North and South Waziristan against terrorists to all over the country to root out militants and their supporters.
Hussain said they were elements in some religious parties who were still defending the Taliban even after the brutal attack on the army school in Peshawar that killed 148 people, mostly children.
In Islamabad, the Inspector-General of Police was forced to authorise registration of a complaint against Aziz after a strong demonstration by civil activists who said he should be arrested for supporting the Taliban.
Aziz, who survived a 2007 military operation against militants hiding in the mosque when he was caught trying to escape wearing a burqa, said he can prove that the military operation was against the teachings of Islam.