Students attend lessons at a seminary in Okara, Pakistan. Picture for illustrative purposes. Image Credit: AP

Islamabad: The Islamabad police have registered a case against the Lal Masjid chief cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz and his armed men under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) for resisting the police and the officials of the district administration from removing an Afghan Taliban flag hoisted by seminary students in Sector G-7/3.

A case was also registered against the Jamia Hafsa seminary students for hoisting the flag atop the seminary roof.

Lal Masjid-affiliated seminary

Jamia Hafsa is a Lal Masjid-affiliated seminary for women and its female students had hoisted Emarat-e-Islami’s (Taliban-ruled Afghanistan) flag over the seminary building.

The Sector G-7/3 seminary students had hoisted the flag a month earlier too but the latest pictures of the flag hoisted again went viral on social media prompting the police and the Islamabad Capital Territory Authority (ICTA) Administration to take action.

A heavy contingent of police reached Jamia Hafsa, so did the followers of the Lal Masjid led by Maulana Aziz to resist the action and to express solidarity with the Jamia Hafsa female students.

In a video, Maulana Aziz could be seen chiding the police and urging them to quit their jobs and stop supporting an ‘un-Islamic’ government.

In anther video clip, Maulana Abdul Aziz was seen sitting outside the seminary carrying a weapon.

A day earlier Deputy Commissioner of Islamabad Mohammed Hamza Shafqaat had stated that no one would be allowed to hoist/wave the flag of the Emarat-e-Islami.

Moments after the DC’s statement, a heavy contingent of police equipped with tear gas, batons and anti-riot equipment arrived at the scene.

Prolonged negotiations

After hours of negotiation, they (the Jamia Hafsa students and Lal Masjid clerics) agreed to remove the Afghan Taliban flag from the rooftop.

Earlier, Deputy Commissioner Islamabad Hamza Shafqat clarified that hoisting the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan flag in Islamabad would not be allowed and action would be taken against those responsible.

FIR sealed

Maulana Aziz’s accomplices names were included in the schedule, he said, adding the First Information Report (FIR) had been sealed.

Four years ago, Maulana Abdul Aziz, after being granted bail in two separate cases, made a statement in 2016 to pardon all the people of the 2007 Lal Masjid operation, including former military president Pervez Musharraf.

A senior official of the district government clarified that Maulana Aziz’s name was already in the Fourth Schedule but they had made it public now.