ISLAMABAD: Lal Masjid cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz enjoyed official security for three years, said Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Sunday.
Addressing a press conference here, the minister said official security had been provided to the cleric since 2011, which he (minister) withdrew a day back.
About the status of Maulana Aziz, who was using the microphone of a government-owned mosque against the state, the minister said he was not the khateeb of the mosque.
He said one of Aziz’s nephews was appointed as the khateeb of the mosque when Pervez Musharraf was in power. In reply to a question about the threats being hurled from Lal Masjid, the minister said nobody would be allowed to live in Pakistan and challenge the state.
He, however, said the government would not follow Musharraf’s policy and deal with such elements under a well thought-out strategy.
The minister said 90 per cent of religious seminaries had nothing to do with terrorism and it was not fair to criticise all of them.
He said there might be questions about funding to the seminaries and illegal possession of land by them, but most of the madressahs were serving the cause of Pakistan and Islam.
He said a strategy was being worked out to deal with seminaries having ‘links’ with terrorists.
The minister added that over 4,000 intelligence-based raids had been conducted across the country after the launch of the military operation following the collapse of the dialogue process with militants.
He said many terrorists and their sympathisers were arrested during these operations.
He said an active and responsible role played by the citizens can make it impossible for the terrorists to carry out any harmful activity.
He said a survey of households in Islamabad had been completed.
Published in Dawn December 22th , 2014