ISLAMABAD: The capital administration has removed the khateeb of Lal Masjid and imposed a three-month ban on the entry of former khateeb Maulana Abdul Aziz in the mosque.
The decision was taken after a meeting between Deputy Commissioner Hamza Shafqaat and Ulema, including Mufti Raees Ayubi from Azad Kashmir and Qazi Nisar from Gilgit-Baltistan.
Former administration of Jamia Hafsa, including Maulana Abdul Aziz’s wife Umme Hassam, along with 80 students came to Lal Masjid after a plot allotted to the seminary was cancelled.
Jamia Hafsa students currently living on mosque premises allowed to continue educational activities for three months
They started living in eight rooms on the premises of the mosque adjacent to the weekly bazaar and commenced educational activities, said officials. The DC requested the Ulema at the meeting held on Monday to play their role in getting the rooms vacated.
The Ulema played the role of mediators between the capital administration and the former administration of the mosque.
It was decided that teachers and students of Jamia Hafsa would continue their educational activities in Lal Masjid for three months. During this period, the capital administration would resolve the issue of the cancellation of a plot allotted to Jamia Hafsa so that they could be shifted there.
When contacted, officers of the capital administration neither confirmed nor denied the development saying so far no notification had been issued.
However, an official confirmed to Dawn that the khateeb of the mosque had been transferred on his own request.
After the development, the capital administration and police reopened the Masjid Road which had been closed a few days ago.
Ehtesham Ahmed, a close associate of the former Lal Masjid administration, told Dawn that Khateeb Amir Siddiqui had been suspended by the Auqaf department after Monday’s meeting. Ulema from Kashmir and Gilgit played their role in getting the issue resolved, he added.
“Now 10 Muftis from Lal Masjid’s Darul Ifta will be leading prayers till the appointment of a new khateeb after three months,” he said.
During the meeting, he added, it was also agreed that Maulana Aziz would not enter the mosque for three months.
The issue related to the cancellation of the plot allotted to Jamia Hafsa was also discussed, Mr Ahmed said. It was decided that the students and teachers of the madressah would continue their educational activities in Lal Masjid but no more students would be enrolled there.
The capital administration also agreed that it would make efforts to get a plot arranged from the civic agency for the students.
Maulana Aziz remained khateeb of Lal Masjid from 1998 to 2004. He was arrested during the Lal Masjid operation in 2007.
Later, Maulana Abdul Ghaffar was appointed as the khateeb and Amir Siddiqui the naib khateeb on temporary basis.
In 2009, Maulana Ghaffar left the mosque after the release of Maulana Aziz and the latter started leading prayers in Lal Masjid till 2014 when a ban was imposed on him.
Amir Siddiqui then led prayers and three months ago was appointed the mosque’s khateeb.
Published in Dawn, June 26th, 2019