Deposed khateeb of Lal Masjid Maulana Abdul Aziz agreed on Sunday to end his occupation of the mosque after three-day long negotiations with the Islamabad administration, who said that 20 kanals of land will be allotted to establish Jamia Hafsa.
The maulana is expected to leave by Tuesday. The female students, who had entered the Jamia Hafsa in Islamabad’s Sector H-11 on Thursday, have started to leave. The police force surrounding the seminary in H-11 has been withdrawn.
During the negotiations, the maulana claimed that his “movement” against former president Pervez Musharraf had started because mosques in the capital were being demolished and insisted that such incidents had resumed. The authorities assured him that his complaints will be taken to competent authorities and that his demand for a settlement in light of the Supreme Court’s decision will be considered.
Earlier, an official of the capital administration had said that the demands of Maulana Aziz cannot be implemented as he wants to become the khateeb of the mosque again. He also wants Rs250 million along with a large piece of land to establish Jamia Hafsa and the possession of the adjacent old children’s library plot, he added.
Maulana Aziz had returned to Lal Masjid around two weeks ago, reiterating his claim to be its prayer leader. The situation, however, turned serious on Thursday night when over a hundred female students entered the Jamia Hafsa in Islamabad’s Sector H-11 by breaking its official seal. As a result, officers from the capital administration approached Lal Masjid to meet Maulana Aziz. But talks remained inconclusive as the cleric insisted that a senior authority equivalent to a federal minister should negotiate with him.
On Saturday, in a bid to end the standoff, the proscribed Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) volunteered to play a role and met officials outside the state-run mosque, while security personnel met the Islamabad administration officials to defuse the situation. A delegation of ASWJ, led by its Islamabad president Hafeez Nazeer, came to Lal Masjid on Saturday and met the officers posted outside. The delegation assured the assistant commissioner of their support and cooperation for a peaceful solution to the standoff.
None of the sides seemed to back off from their positions as the followers of Maulana Aziz and the administration enhanced their strict posture possibly in a show of strength.