ISLAMABAD, April 10: Senator Hamidullah Jan Afridi, who leads a dissident group of four senators from the tribal areas, on Tuesday offered to arrange a grand jirga to resolve the standoff over the Lal Masjid.

The senator made the offer at a meeting with Maulana Abdul Aziz, the imam of the mosque.

According to Mr Afridi, the maulana welcomed his offer, but said he was waiting for an official response to his demands communicated to the government through Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, the PML chief, at a meeting late last week.

Mr. Afridi told reporters that he had not come at ‘anyone’s behest’. He said the standoff was a source of grave concern for the nation.

Tariq Azeem Khan, the Minister of State for Information, welcomed Mr.Afridi’s initiative, assuring the senator of the government’s support in negotiations with the clerics.

According to a TV report, Chaudhry Shujaat visited the Lal Masjid late on Tuesday night to persuade the clerics to end their defiance. The PML chief told them to signal readiness for talks with the government by Wednesday night or be ready to face action.

WEBSITE: The administration of the Lal Masjid announced on Tuesday that it had launched an international website, Lal Masjid.com, after the blocking of their site by the government.

Agencies add: The move comes after the Lal Masjid issued a fatwa against a minister, Nilofar Bakhtiar, pictured hugging a foreigner following a charity paragliding trip in France, and also threatened to carry out suicide attacks.

We have blocked the website of Lal Masjid and also blocked the radio station, minister Tariq Azeem said.

We will block anything that promotes religious hatred, calls for suicide attacks -- this cannot be tolerated, he added.

Mr Azeem said the government blocked the website and an `illegal’ FM radio station under laws brought in five years ago.

Opinion

Editorial

Crime against humanity
Updated 03 Dec 2021

Crime against humanity

The government has yet to fulfil its long-standing pledge to criminalise enforced disappearances.
03 Dec 2021

Revised valuations

THE revised property valuations notified by the FBR for 40 cities for the purpose of collecting federal taxes —...
03 Dec 2021

PWD await rights

ON the International Day of Disabled Persons, it is important to take stock of how far Pakistan has come in ensuring...
02 Dec 2021

Funding for polls

THE PTI government’s autocratic mentality is again on full display, even as it feigns adherence to the law....
02 Dec 2021

Soaring prices

PRICES are surging. And they are increasing at a much faster pace than anticipated, burdening millions of...
Ali Wazir’s bail
Updated 02 Dec 2021

Ali Wazir’s bail

IT has been a long time coming, but MNA and Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement leader Ali Wazir has finally been granted bail...