Lal Masjid cleric acquitted in four cases

Published: November 1, 2011
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Abdul Aziz’s counsel argued prosecution failed to submit enough witnesses and proof. PHOTO: ONLINE/FILE

Abdul Aziz’s counsel argued prosecution failed to submit enough witnesses and proof. PHOTO: ONLINE/FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

District courts acquitted the chief cleric of Lal Masjid in four of the 12 cases registered against him for crimes including challenging government writ by keeping illegal arms.

Judicial Magistrate Kashif Qayyum Sheikh acquitted Abdul Aziz in four cases which were registered against him at the Aabpara police station. The cases included delivering provocative speeches against former president Pervez Musharraf’s government, participation in the issuance of ‘fatwas’ against the military operation in the tribal areas, keeping illegal arms and kidnapping policemen.

Aziz’s counsel Wajeehullah Khan contended that his client was not guilty and that Musharraf implicated him in false cases where the prosecution presented only nine witnesses during proceedings.

He argued that the prosecution had failed to submit enough witnesses and evidence against his client, saying that recordings of Aziz’s speeches were also not presented before the court by the prosecution.

In a case registered against Aziz in 2005, he was accused of delivering provocative speeches against the government during the now defunct Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal protest led by former MNA Mian Muhammad Aslam, thus inciting protestors to injure policemen and damage police motorcycles.

Two cases were filed against the cleric in 2004 and 2005 when the Aabpara police conducted raids on Lal Masjid to arrest Aziz and his brother Abdul Rashid Ghazi, the brothers fled from the scene and the police recovered arms and ammunition from their drawing room. One case alleged that the accused had resisted arrest when the Aabpara police raided the mosque.

In another case registered in 2007, he was accused of threatening the government with a backlash of suicide attacks if the government tried to tear down Lal Masjid or Jamia Hafsa, the women’s faculty. At least 10 soldiers and a Rangers official were killed, along with 91 suspected militants.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 1st, 2011. 

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Reader Comments (45)

  • Shyam
    Nov 1, 2011 - 10:07AM

    One more Judge saved from running off to Saudi to save himself

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  • Abdul Rehman Gilani
    Nov 1, 2011 - 10:33AM

    Good Decision by the court.

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  • Iftikhar-ur-Rehman
    Nov 1, 2011 - 10:39AM

    This circus makes me laugh!!! Police and Intelligence agencies keep on arresting and the judiciary keeps on releasing the murderers, terrorists and target killers

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  • Concerned Citizen
    Nov 1, 2011 - 11:12AM

    @Abdul Rehman Gilani: Are you insane?! People like these need to be hanged, not just put behind bars. They incite HATRED in the name of Islam which is the worst sin imaginable.

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  • Sad Panda
    Nov 1, 2011 - 11:25AM

    I am glad he is acquitted otherwise he, again, would have tried to run away wearing a burqa.Recommend

  • Umair Mallick
    Nov 1, 2011 - 11:38AM

    disregard to the loss of thousands of innocent lives; another example of openly providing opportunity to the cold blooded killers and enemies of the country and the nation to continue with their heinous crimes agains humanity and the religion. May God bless this country!Recommend

  • A J Khan
    Nov 1, 2011 - 11:38AM

    It is about time that judiciary should come out of state of denial and confess that it cannot deliver justice due to fear and threat of reprisal.
    Who doesn’t know that this man was involved in keeping illegal weapons in mosque, that he fought battles with the armed forces of Pakistan right in the capital city, that he killed soldiers in the battle and that he threatened and launched a series of suicide attacks in various parts of the country as act of vengeance.
    Analyze the argument of his lawyer “ that the prosecution had failed to submit enough witnesses (only nine witnesses) . Four witnesses are sufficient for establishing rape, but nine witnesses are not enough to establish the complicity of a cleric.
    We appreciate the threat to the judges from the terrorists. In the interest of Justice, Judges and society at large, military courts should be established to handle the terrorists

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  • Shahryar Ahmed
    Nov 1, 2011 - 11:50AM

    @Abdul Rehman Gilani: Shame on this decision. Wasn’t he running in burqa from the Masjid?

    He & his wife & brother are nothing more than a terrorist!!!!

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  • gp65
    Nov 1, 2011 - 11:56AM

    The terrorists and killers like LeJ chief,Aziz etc. are acquitted by intimidating judges and witnesses.The punishment against police involved in Sialkot lynching are suspended. The one judge who courageously sentenced a self-confessed murderer like Qadri had to escape to Saudi Arabia. While the judge did not find any support? Recommend

  • Karim
    Nov 1, 2011 - 12:01PM

    This is the outcome of Independent Judiciary?. if known cases turn out like this then what would be the fate of those lesser known?

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  • Sad but true
    Nov 1, 2011 - 12:22PM

    Only a civilian revolution can save Pakistan.

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  • faraz
    Nov 1, 2011 - 12:52PM

    This sectarian mullah has become a hero for the jihadi organizations despite his disgraceful attempt to escape in a burqa. If he is punished, the terrorists will blow everything up

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  • lady Gaga
    Nov 1, 2011 - 12:56PM

    Pathetic

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  • Aftab Kenneth Wilson
    Nov 1, 2011 - 1:12PM

    They are angels of death. Human beings can not judge them and as such are immune from any conviction.

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  • Nov 1, 2011 - 1:27PM

    One more judge saved his and his family’s life from insults aggressive threats and may be death.

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  • saleem
    Nov 1, 2011 - 1:47PM

    10 soldiers and One Ranger killed in Islamabad died due to incitement of acts of terror by this cleric, should he not fall under preview of Army Act and be hanged. Bhutto was hanged for the death of One Judge due to his alleged orders to shoot at him.

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  • Supiahnalla
    Nov 1, 2011 - 2:12PM

    A welcome decision. Hope he gets acquitted on remaining charges too quickly. One look at his pious face in this picture should convince anyone of his innocence….Pakistan army should look at their official moto – ‘Jihad fi sabillilah’ and try to implement it. Instead they are fighting the pious. May Allah’s wrath be upon them.Recommend

  • MarkH
    Nov 1, 2011 - 2:14PM

    If they’re too afraid to convict, they’re just as guilty as promoting the actions. There’s nothing quite as reassuring as a judge saying you won’t get punished for it repeatedly.

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  • Aryabhat
    Nov 1, 2011 - 2:22PM

    This is sooo indicative of today’s Pakistan. Report ends with – “At least 10 soldiers and a Rangers official were killed, along with 91 suspected militants.”

    And who is responsible for that?

    “Progressive, secular, man-made law following court” says – certainly not the Chief Cleric!

    I wish ALL THE BEST to Pakistan. You are going to need it!

    BTW, I am awaiting someone saying this entire case was a conspiracy of Joos, Hindoos and Christians (or is it Amrika?)!

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  • Abdullah
    Nov 1, 2011 - 3:50PM

    @Concerned Citizen, @Shahryar Ahmed Shame on Musharraf and the then supporters who burnt to death weaponless female students and turned back on the agreement which was done with the help of different negotiators.

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  • Imran
    Nov 1, 2011 - 3:54PM

    It is learnt that the defense took the plea that cross-dressing is not a crime under Pakistan Penal Code, and the “honorable court” agreed!

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  • Imran
    Nov 1, 2011 - 5:58PM

    Ladies and Gentlemen! I present you The Master of Disguise.

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  • grinz09
    Nov 1, 2011 - 6:03PM

    @Abdullah:
    I recommend you read Saleem Shahzad’s excellent book (the journalist who was brutally murdered recently). He’s reffered to Lal Masjid in some sections describing their crimnal activites, sermons inciting murder through suicide bombings etc. He goes on to say that Lal Masjid was a ‘cell’ of Al Quaida.

    It’s sad that the crimal justice system failed once again.

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  • Nov 1, 2011 - 7:21PM

    We are all proud to be in a jungle country with jungle law. Rose petals should be showered on the judge. There is a final judgement that this country can never be pulled back from the abyss.

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  • allaisa
    Nov 1, 2011 - 7:23PM

    The judge should be hanged for not acquitting this pious muslim earlier. Instead he put him through this trial. Think about the mental stress Abdul Aziz must have undergone facing these trumped up charges. If anyone should be prosecuted it is Musharaff for having this pious gentleman arrested.

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  • Khan
    Nov 1, 2011 - 7:40PM

    The judge should know better that due to this inactivity/incompetency over providing justice the society becomes violent and results in explosive situations just like the one witnessed in Arab world.
    Army personnel were killed while performing their duty of protecting this nation and Army must ask the Parliament to have a law where if any incident involves killing of any LEA’s personnel those cases should not be brought to these incompetent judges and should be brought under Army run courts. Otherwise these barbarians will keep on killing on the name of Islam.
    Mr Kashif Qayyum Sheikh clearly doesn’t have the capacity to distinguish between pious muslims and those killing on the name of religion. Mr Kashif must be asked as to why was he not able to serve justice to those killed (while performing their duty) by these thugs who not only challenged state’s authority but created anarchy on the name of religion.
    If “honorable” Majistrate cannot perform his duty independently without being influenced by his religious belief then he is surely doesn’t deserve to be on this post and should find another job instead with the help of Mr Aziz.
    If one cannot perform his/her duty professionally and their belief overcomes their duties they should realize this fact and instead of being hypocrites, should sit in mosques.

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  • Khan
    Nov 1, 2011 - 7:48PM

    @Supiahnalla:
    One look at his pious face in this picture should convince anyone of his innocence
    What we see is a man who mis-led and trapped many men to their death while he escaped in a burqa like cowards. Those standing in this picture shoulder to shoulder beside him might have died that day too while he ‘escaped in a burqa’ Classic!!!
    Even Adolf Hitler was man enough to shoot himself afterwards!!!!!!.

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  • Shah Rukh Kahn
    Nov 1, 2011 - 8:12PM

    Acquttal is not enough! Pakistan must buiild a new Lal Masjid, in fact, several of them, and cleric Abdul Aziz must be given full and complete freedom to teach Islam and sharia for all of us Pakistanis. We cannot be called Fortress of Islam if we are not sharia – compliant by 2015.

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  • Kamran
    Nov 1, 2011 - 9:01PM

    What kind of people you are? If a judge sentences Mumtaz Qadri to death you appreciate the judgment and if a judge acquit Lal Masjid cleric, you have problems with him. Its a good decision as it will help bring peace in the country. We are all Muslims and Muslims must not fight against each other.

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  • Khan
    Nov 1, 2011 - 10:10PM

    @grinz09:
    Dude if they could read books do you think they would follow such people … They would rather follow a Bus drive who just read some books without understanding any thing and will not only follow other books instead of Quran but will mislead other people too. Quran explicitly says Suicide is prohibited simple and clear.
    But they will find justification for doing it. Sure Allah knows about future and he would have never said its haram and just like haram food could have said that only in certain situation its prohibited BUT no it was simply said Its prohibited, clear and simple, any one doing otherwise will sure be punished accordingly.

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  • Khan
    Nov 1, 2011 - 10:25PM

    @Kamran:
    A basic and common Hadith for you “Hazrat Abdillaah-ibne-‘amrin (bin al’aas: may Allaah be pleased with him) say rawaayat hai k Rasool Allaah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) nay farmaaya: Musalmaan wo hai jis ki zubaan aur haath say doosre Musalmaan mehfooz rahein”
    Now, all those who are killing others on the name of religion are they muslim?

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  • Jawad U Rahman
    Nov 1, 2011 - 10:43PM

    @Kamran: Shabash Kamran ! How innocent ‘We are all Muslims and Muslims must not fight against each other’. Why don’t you preach this message of peace and harmony to the barbarians including Maulana Aziz who spread hate, violence, and murder in the name of Islam? Majority of the 35000 fellow Pakistani Muslims have been blown up by the ilk of Maulana Aziz. Please tell them to lay down their arms, and help in building a peaceful, prospoerous, and harmonious Pakistan.

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  • Nov 1, 2011 - 10:57PM

    Four witnesses are sufficient for establishing rape, but nine witnesses are not enough to establish the complicity of a cleric.

    And the 4 witnesses for rape itself is a messed up misogynist law, when it actuality it was supposed to be 4 witnesses for adultery, but twisted in Wahhabi Zia think…!

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  • Nov 1, 2011 - 11:12PM

    @Kamran:
    We are all Muslims and Muslims must not fight against each other.
    Yes, we all like to be ‘bhai bhai’ with criminals, extremists and terrorists!
    While Musharraf mismanaged the entire fiasco, the bottom line is they are criminal Kharjites. Just because they scream Allah’s name the loudest, does not make them better Muslims or pious or your brothers, considering their immoral and criminal actions.
    They were Taliban sympathizers and criminal terrorists, hoarding guns and bombs (because they used to be a recruitment factory for our proxy militants by the ISI and army), trapping children in the conflict, who challenged the law of the state by illegally occupying property, harassing other Pakistani citizens with their mobs with sticks and finally kidnapping them, including police officers.
    And frankly those who support the acquittal are extremist terrorist apologists themselves. If not extremist themselves given one of the comments above (bold added)
    @allaisa:
    The judge should be hanged for not acquitting this pious muslim earlier. Instead he put him through this trial. Think about the mental stress Abdul Aziz must have undergone facing these trumped up charges.
    Just twisted. Recommend

  • Nov 1, 2011 - 11:17PM

    Clearly the civilian courts are lacking when it comes to charging militants and terrorists. Serious reforms needed. In the mean-time re-install military courts (what irony that the military and intelligence services helped create these monsters and are now needed to lock them up!).

    You can add him to the list of other extremist murderers you released, such as L-e-J’s Malik Ishaq, or failing to detain L-e-T’s Hafiz Saeed. Bet all the Abdul Aziz sympathizers were happy about those too….

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  • Fauzia Haider
    Nov 2, 2011 - 12:16AM

    @ Kamran, Muslims should not fight each other? But it is Ok for Muslims to kill other Muslims. That is what these Mullahs are promoting…. In their Khutbas they are distorting the message of God to fit their ideology by declaring all that are not part of this Jihadi movement or part of a certain salafist group then they are all “wajib ul Katal”. When did salfists the “excluded ones” of Islam become the banner holders of Islam? This is all messed up!

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  • Cautious
    Nov 2, 2011 - 1:44AM

    that Musharraf implicated him in false cases where the prosecution presented only nine witnesses during proceedings.
    .
    The issue should be the credibility of the witnesses – not the number of witnesses. Letting someone off the hook because only 9 people showed up to testify demonstrates why many people have a low opinion of Pakistani justice system.

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  • numbersnumbers
    Nov 2, 2011 - 3:47AM

    Clearly, after many terrorist cases have been thrown out in civilian courts due to any excuse possible, it is time for Pakistan to wake up and try these cases in a closed military tribunal system run by the Army! You either you have aa active justice system that speaks to the evils of terrorism, or just admit that Pakistan is on its way to becoming a Failed State!

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  • M Ali Khan
    Nov 2, 2011 - 4:03AM

    Normal service in Pakistan since 90% of people accused of terrorism in Pakistan are mysteriously acquitted anyway.

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  • Dr.A.K. Tewari
    Nov 2, 2011 - 7:21PM

    Not surprised ?

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  • Nov 2, 2011 - 8:28PM

    I am sending a gift of one burqa to the judge who acquitted Lal Masjid Burqa Cleric.

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  • sid
    Nov 2, 2011 - 9:57PM

    This guy needs to be locked up behind bars forever for spreading hatred in the name of islam….

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  • Nov 3, 2011 - 12:14AM

    so the coward jerk set free…hmmmRecommend

  • Dr.A.K. Tewari
    Nov 3, 2011 - 8:00AM

    He should have been hanged or punished with life term along with his blind followers so to teach a lession to those who are trying to follow his path in future .

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  • Muhammad Khaleeq
    Nov 14, 2011 - 2:53AM

    What can you expect from a corrupt and coward judiciary.

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