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Lal Masjid cleric acquitted in all cases

Published Sep 24, 2013 07:23am
Maulana Wajihullah advocate, counsel of Maulana Aziz (above), after the cleric’s acquittal told Dawn that former president General (retired) Pervez Musharraf had forced the police to register fake cases against the cleric and his family members. 

He said Maulana Aziz and his family members had now been acquitted from all fake cases but Gen Musharraf himself was still facing trials.— File Photo
Maulana Wajihullah advocate, counsel of Maulana Aziz (above), after the cleric’s acquittal told Dawn that former president General (retired) Pervez Musharraf had forced the police to register fake cases against the cleric and his family members. He said Maulana Aziz and his family members had now been acquitted from all fake cases but Gen Musharraf himself was still facing trials.— File Photo

ISLAMABAD, Sept 23: Maulana Abdul Aziz, the chief cleric of Lal Masjid, was acquitted from his last case on Monday by a judicial magistrate of Islamabad, Mohammad Naveed Khan.

Since 2001, 27 different cases had been registered against Maulana Aziz, and the last one was registered on April 1, 2007 by the Kohsar police.

The first of the 27 cases against Maulana Abdul Aziz and his associates was registered on September 28, 2001, for delivering fiery speeches.

Between 2001 and 2005, the police registered 10 cases of which five were registered under different sections of the Anti Terrorism Act 1997.

The remaining five were withdrawn before 2007.

However, 22 cases were later registered against the cleric between January and July, 2007.

The last case registered against the cleric stated that he had threatened shopkeepers of Aabpara and Jinnah Super for selling movies containing indecent content.

In this regard, the prosecution produced 60 witnesses against Maulana Aziz.

However, when the relevant witnesses, including the shopkeepers, were produced before the court, they disowned the prosecution’s story and claimed that Maulana Aziz had never threatened them or visited their shops.

Maulana Wajihullah advocate, counsel of Maulana Aziz, after the cleric’s acquittal told Dawn that former president General (retired) Pervez Musharraf had forced the police to register fake cases against the cleric and his family members.

He said Maulana Aziz and his family members had now been acquitted from all fake cases but Gen Musharraf himself was still facing trials.

Investigation against Musharraf ‘influenced’

Meanwhile, Haroon Rasheed, the son of Lal Masjid cleric Ghazi Abdul Rasheed, has filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court against police officers who had refused to join an investigation team (JIT) to probe his father’s murder.

The JIT had been constituted to probe former president General (retired) Pervez Musharraf in connection with the murder of Ghazi Rasheed during the 2007 Lal Masjid operation.

Previously, Haroon Rasheed had filed a petition seeking the registration of a case against Mr Musharraf. Subsequently, Islamabad High Court Justice Noorul Haq Qureshi, on July 12, 2013, accepted his plea and ordered for the registration of an FIR against the former president.

Tariq Asad, counsel of Rasheed, said in the petition filed on Monday that two senior police officers – DIG Khalid Khattak and Superintendent of Police (SP) Jameel Ahmad Hashmi – had refused to join the JIT because their family members were being harassed ever since the join an investigation team was constituted.

The petition stated that that if senior officers of police were feeling insecure, it would be impossible to ensure an impartial investigation in the said case.

Furthermore, it also expressed apprehension that Mr Musharraf might have hired foreign agencies for his rescue, and was using these to influence the investigation.

Therefore, the counsel requested the court to direct authorities of the interior ministry and Islamabad police to coordinate with the Pakistani intelligence agencies and determine the forces which had made the police helpless.