Pak: Women`s seminary of Lal Masjid to be rebuilt

The chief cleric of Lal Masjid has pledged to rebuild a women`s seminary that was demolished.

Islamabad: The chief cleric of Lal Masjid has
pledged to rebuild a women`s seminary that was demolished
following a military operation against the radical mosque in
the Pakistani capital four years ago.

Abdul Aziz, the firebrand cleric of Lal Masjid, said he
will lay the foundation stone for the Jamia Hafsa seminary
next Friday.

"If the local administration (Islamabad Capital
Territory`s administration) is not ready to reconstruct Jamia
Hafsa, we will take the initiative on our own," Aziz told a
gathering on Friday.

The original foundation stone of the seminary was laid by
Aziz`s father Maulana Abdullah in 1992.

Jamia Hafsa was built on land claimed by the madrassa`s
administration and was affiliated with the adjoining Lal

The seminary was demolished after a military operation
against extremists holed up in the mosque in 2007.

About 100 people were killed in the operation.

In April 2007, Aziz launched a campaign to enforce Shariah
or Islamic law in the area around the mosque.

He set up a `qazi` court with 10 `muftis` and threatened
to launch suicide attacks if the government intervened.

Several incidents involving radical elements from the Lal
Masjid, including the abduction of Chinese nationals,
policemen and alleged brothel owners, forced the military to
crack down on the mosque.

Aziz was caught fleeing the mosque disguised as a woman in
a burqa.

His brother, Abdul Rasheed Ghazi, spurned all peace
overtures and was killed by commandos who stormed the complex.
After a petition was filed seeking the reconstruction of
Jamia Hafsa, the Supreme Court ordered authorities to
reconstruct the seminary.

Aziz alleged that despite the court`s orders, the local
administration appeared reluctant to reconstruct the madrassa.


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