Rebuilding Jamia Hafsa: Govt presents relocation agreement before SC

5-year-old agreement was presented to rebuff Lal Masjid cleric’s claim that SC’s rebuilding ruling wasn't implemented

Hasnaat Malik August 25, 2016
Maulana Abdul Aziz. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: The federal government has submitted before the Supreme Court a copy of an agreement regarding the allotment of a 20-kanal plot for the relocation of Jamia Hafsa.

In compliance with the Supreme Court’s May 11 order, Deputy Attorney General Sohail Mahmood submitted a report regarding the implementation of the court’s October 2, 2007 judgment regarding rebuilding Jamia Hafsa --- a controversial women’s madrassa affiliated to Lal Masjid.

In December 2015, Lal Masjid cleric Abdul Aziz had filed an application in the apex court, requesting it to direct the authorities to implement the Supreme Court’s October 2, 2007 verdict.

The top court on May 4 sought a report from the federal government regarding the implementation of the eight-year-old verdict.

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An agreement was signed by the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) and the management of Lal Masid on December 29, 2011. A copy of the agreement is available with The Express Tribune.

ICT Chief Commissioner Tariq Mahmood Pirzada, Majida Younas Alias Umme Hassan, and Abdul Aziz are the main signatories of the agreement, along with six witnesses.

The agreement says that 20 kanals will be provided in Islamabad’s Sector H-11/4 for the construction of a ‘research centre’ and hostel for the students of Jamia Hafsa in lieu of the land previously occupied by the madrassa.

According to the agreement, it was also agreed that entire plot previously occupied by Jamia Hafsa, adjacent to Lal Masjid, could only be used as prayer ground for the mosque, and not for any other institutional or residential purpose. The H-11 plot was originally allotted to the National Institute of Fire Technology.

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Tariq Asad, the counsel for Aziz, was visibly upset upon learning of the agreement. He claimed to The Express Tribune that his client had not informed him of the plot allotment deal with the federal government.

At the same time, he said that the government has signed an agreement with two individuals, which he interpreted was not implementation of the court’s judgment, saying that the government is bound to rebuild Jamia Hafsa at the original location. DAG Sohail, however, believes that after the allotment of the plot, the issue was settled.

No public funds for private students

Additionally, the government says in its report that it has refused to cover the education expenses of Jamia Hafsa students.

The government submitted that all religious schools in the country are being operated by their managements on self-financing basis. In the past, Jamia Hafsa was also being run by its management in a similar way.

“The affairs of Lal Masjid are being regulated amicably in accordance with the code of conduct. Strict vigilance is being maintained and Friday prayers and sermons are being strictly monitored by the special branch”, the report added.

It is further informed that three out of the four people who were to receive compensation under hte 2007 judgement have been paid.

Earlier, the capital police informed the Supreme Court that Umme Hassan failed to substantiate her claim about the number of seminary students inside the mosque during the Lal Masjid operation in 2007.

The reply states that the investigation team recorded Ayesha Ahmed and Umme Hassan’s statements. The police stated that during the probe, both witnesses failed to substantiate their claims that there were between 3,500 and 3,600 students inside Lal Masjid.

The report further states that the operation was started on July 3, 2007 by the armed forces in pursuance of the federal government’s directions under Article 245 of the Constitution, adding that it concluded on July 10, 2007.

The report also states that 662 people were arrested during the operation and released later on. As many as 467 female seminary students were evacuated from Lal Masjid during the operation and were handed over to their relatives, it adds.

Regarding the operation, 47 criminal cases were registered. Challans against Maulana Abdul Aziz, his wife, and 39 other accused were sent to the courts for further proceedings.

The report adds that only four of those cases ended with convictions. The report says 103 people — 89 militants, 11 security officials, and three civilians — were killed during the operation.

The agreement available with The Express Tribune: 


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