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ISLAMABAD: Police and paramilitary troops were deployed at Jamia Hafsa on Saturday, police officials told Dawn.

However, there was no official word on the deployment, and officials contacted were reluctant to discuss the issue.

Some officials said the deployment was made to increase vigilance and intelligence gathering at the seminary, and to monitor those who visited the seminary.

They said the measure was taken in view of the prevailing situation. The deployment annoyed students at the seminary as well as the administration. Officials said many climbed onto the roof of the seminary and chanted slogans, and added that messages were also sent to the police that the outcome of the deployment would be negative, and they would not be responsible.

Capital administration officials including the assistant commissioner, as well as police, later came to the seminary to negotiate with the administration, and the majority of the contingent was eventually withdrawn. However, four vehicles of police and Rangers, each, remained at Jamia Hafsa.

Lal Masjid spokesperson Ehtesham Ahmed said the contingent of police and Rangers came to Jamia Hafsa after the Zuhr prayers and were deployed in front of the seminar and on the roads leading toward it.

Mr Ahmed said the deployment bothered clerics associated with Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa as well as the students.

“We were told the deployment was made for our security, but we do not trust the [capital] administration and police,” he said. “Their intentions were clear from the deployment.”

He said the capital administration and police were informed that they were responsible for the deteriorating situation and that if anything happened, “they will be responsible for it”.

The spokesperson added: “Maulana Abdul Aziz is staying at the seminary, and the administration and police during a meeting with him today, asked him to take bail from the court.”

Published in Dawn, January 31st, 2016