Islamic Activists Close Down Islamabad
- Madressah force on the offensive in Islamabad: Move to impose
Talibanisation; three women kidnapped
By Syed Irfan Raza, Pakistan
ISLAMABAD, March 28: Signs of Talibanisation appeared quite evident on
Wednesday in the heart of the federal capital when hard-line religious
leaders and hundreds of men and women activists from the local
madressahs challenged the writ of the government for the second time
by trying to force their brand of Islamic justice in Islamabad.
They first took hostage three women from a house near their stronghold
of Lal Masjid for allegedly running a brothel and later forcibly
detained two security personnel in protest against detention of their
four supporters, two of them women teachers of Madressah Hafsa.
The madressah students, mainly women, had been taking rounds of the
nearby markets for a few days, threatening video and music shop owners
to close down their business. In some way, they had been encouraged by
the soft pedalling by the government on their earlier action of
occupying a children's library two months back, which still remained
in their control.
The three women were apparently kidnapped two days ago, but the
situation took the form of a confrontation on Wednesday when the
authorities detained four madressah people on the charge of
threatening video-shop owners. The madressah students reacted
violently, and within no time two police vans were attacked and two
security officials taken hostage.
Later, the ulema and local administration reached an agreement under
which Qamar Abbas of Islamabad police and Hammad of Punjab police were
released with their official vehicles. In return, the two women
teachers and two other activists were released by the police.
However, the three kidnapped women were still stated to be in the
custody of the students of the madressah and negotiations were under
way for their release.
"We will not release the women unless a `strong' FIR is registered
against them so that they can be taken to task for their immoral
activities," said Ghazi Abdul Rashid, deputy Imam of the mosque.
The tension that gripped the capital continued from 1pm to 8pm as all
roads leading to the Lal Masjid were closed by police and
baton-wielding students of Madressah Hafsa and Jamia Fradia, another
seminary of the mosque for men, remained on the roads, staged a
demonstration and chanted slogans against the government and President
Pervez Musharraf. Heavy contingents of police was seen outside Aabpara
police station but they did not go close to the mosque. The hard-line
ulema of the mosque are reported to be trying to impose
`Talibanisation' in the capital after the government showed its
incapability to get vacated the library occupied since Jan 21.
According to a security official, the ulema were trying to expand
their operations in the city in the name of Jihad.
Islamabad Deputy Commissioner Chaudhry Mohammad Ali said the ulema had
a facility to use frequencies of FM radio and on Wednesday they
blocked four frequencies -- FM 92 to 96 to launch their propaganda
through radio for an hour in the morning.
The students of Madressah Hafsa, who had been occupying the
government's library for children for the past two months, had raided
the house, picked the owner Shahmim, her daughter Sadaf and
daughter-in-law Nadia Batool, and detained them in Lal Masjid.
Abdul Rashid claimed that the `brothel' had been raided on the
complaint of residents of the area, who, he said, feared that the
owner, allegedly having links with senior police officials, would take
revenge if they lodged any report against her.
Police picked up Madressah Hafsa teachers Tasleem Bibi and Seyeda Bibi
with two activists, Qari Aziz and Maroof, who had tried to close a
video shop. Two police personnel present there stopped them and took
Police took the four to Aabpara police station and kept them there for
They were released when Lal Masjid Imam Qazi Abdul Aziz gave an
ultimatum to the local administration that if the teachers were not
released by Maghrib, the activists would march towards the police
station to burn it.
The government made Aabpara Police Station SHO Mohammad Safeer a
scapegoat and suspended him.
A police source said he had been suspended for not tackling the
situation and picking up the teachers of the seminary at a time when
Chief Justice Chaudhry Iftikhar Mohammad was addressing a big
gathering of lawyers in Rawalpindi and an Azadari procession had been
taken out from the Markazi Imambargah, located half a kilometre away
from Lal Masjid.
The deputy imam of the mosque said he had given 15 days to the
administration for releasing five activists and former Inter-Services
Intelligence official Khalid Khawaja, who was pursuing the case of
people who had `disappeared'.Police sources said the activists had
removed wireless sets from their vehicles they were monitoring all the
moves of the force.
Later, the Islamabad police chief ordered the force not to use
wireless sets for conveying any message.
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