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SC grants bail to Maulana Aziz

April 15, 2009

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Protestors gather outside the Lal Masjid during a standoff with security forces last year - APP/File photo.

ISLAMABAD The Supreme Court accepted on Wednesday a bail plea of former Khateeb of Lal Masjid Maulana Abdul Aziz in a case relating to the forced occupation of a children's library adjacent to the mosque.

There is no sufficient material available against Maulana Aziz and, therefore, bail is granted,' observed a three-judge bench comprising Justice Javed Iqbal, Justice Sarmad Jalal Osmany and Justice Syed Zahid Hussain.

Earlier, Maulana Aziz was granted bail in 25 of the total 27 cases and in one case he was discharged.The bench was hearing a petition by Maulana Aziz challenging rejection of his bail request by the Islamabad High Court and government's appeal seeking cancellation of his bail earlier granted by the high court in other cases relating to violence, abduction and terrorism registered under the terrorism act.

Advocate Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, the legal counsel for Maulana Aziz, told Dawn that his client, who was under detention in a Bahria Town house declared a sub-jail by the authorities, was expected to be released in two or three days after submission of surety bonds of Rs200,000 to an anti-terrorism court seized with the cases.

Chief of Wafaqul Madaris Arabia Pakistan Qari Mohammad Hanif Jalandhari welcomed the decision and said it was a good omen for peace and tranquillity in the country.

He urged the government to immediately start building Jamia Hafsa which was demolished during the Lal Masjid operation on Jan 22, 2007.

On July 7 last year, Maulana Aziz had moved an appeal to the apex court, pleading that he had been under detention since his arrest on July 4, 2007. He said that denial of bail to a person who himself was a 'victim of state terrorism would mean rubbing salt in to the wounds'.

A division bench of the IHC had granted bail to Maulana Aziz in cases relating to abduction of Chinese nationals, shooting on Rangers, abduction of law-enforcement personnel on duty and terrorism against the state, but rejected his bail request in the case about forced occupation of the children's library.

On Wednesday, Maulana Aziz's lawyer said his client was neither involved in the occupation of the library nor had he ordered such an action.