ISLAMABAD: The capital administration and former Lal Masid cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz appear to have relaxed their standoff, with the police removing barricades around the mosque and withdrawing from the area.
Police and administration officials said the administration and Mr Aziz have agreed to resolve their issues and reach an agreement within two months.
This was the result of negotiations between them, mediated by ulema including Ahle Sunnat Was Jamaat leader Ahmed Ludhianvi.
Administration and police officials told Dawn on condition of anonymity that there had been positive development in the complex Lal Masjid matter and they hoped there would a result that would be acceptable to all.
Former cleric to leave mosque premises in three days and will not be allowed to return for two months
They said the barricades were removed all around the mosque and the roads were reopened. The police contingent deployed nearby was recalled, although some officials are still stationed there.
Hafiz Onaib from the ASWJ told Dawn that Mr Ludhianvi was mediating between the two sides to resolve the matter.
They have reached an agreement to calm the tense situation and the standoff between them, he said.
In a message, Haroon Rasheed said that the administration and Mr Aziz had reached an agreement and Mr Ludhianvi was the guarantor, under which the police contingent was withdrawn.
He said negotiations on other demands would continue.
Under the agreement signed by the deputy commissioner and Mr Aziz, Mr Aziz and his family will vacate the mosque in three days and move to Jamia Hafsa in G-7.
They will be prohibited from entering the mosque for two months, officials said.
During this time, Haroon Rasheed and others will look after the mosque’s administrative issues and the restrictions on Mr Aziz’s movement will be lifted after two months.
Neither the government nor Mr Aziz can take possession of the H-11 plot in this period, they said. Guards from each side will be stationed there and the key to the main gate of the plot will be with the administration of Jamia Hafsa.
Mr Rasheed confirmed that Mr Aziz will vacate the mosque in three days under the agreement and that he will be banned from entering it for two months.
In June 2019, the capital administration removed Mr Aziz as the khateeb of Lal Masjid and banned him from entering the mosque for three months.
Mr Aziz and his family then moved into eight rooms on the mosque premises and began teaching seminary students there.
It was eventually decided that Jamia Hafsa students would be allowed to study in the mosque for three months.
During this period, the administration would resolve the issue regarding the cancellation of a plot allotted to the seminary so they could move there, officials said.
Mr Aziz was offered replacements in a few areas, but demanded the same plot in H-11.
He then demanded a plot in locations that were not acceptable to the government as well as compensation for construction in H-11, officials said.
He sought land in sectoral areas and did not accept any of the locations offered by the government.
In February, the mosque was cordoned off once again when the deadline Mr Aziz and his family and students were given to vacate the premises expired.
Published in Dawn, June 3rd, 2020