ISLAMABAD: A day after an FIR was lodged against Lal Masjid chief Maulana Abdul Aziz at Aabpara police station, civil society activists on Saturday warned that they will stage another protest outside the police station if the cleric is not arrested.
Civil society members, including the organisers of a vigil outside Lal Masjid, gathered outside the National Press Club on Saturday to express solidarity with the victims of the Peshawar school attack. They raised slogans and held placards against terrorists and their sympathisers.
M Jibran Nasir, who had filed the application against Aziz, spearheaded the protest. He said that the ball was now in the state’s court. “We appeal all bar councils of the state to join us and we thank all the peace-loving scholars who are with us in our war against terrorism. Our war is not against Islam,” he said.
He also requested media to not give air time to the terrorists and their supporters and stressed for promoting a softer image of the country. Furthermore, he asked the state for proof of the executions of the terrorists, denouncing the double-game.
Physicist and activist Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy said that while he was grieved over the tragedy, however grieving was not enough. “We need to identify the culprits, who have committed this mass murder and unflinchingly admit to it. It is clear that Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan and other jihadis who have killed our children so heartlessly are our enemies!”
He added that they will not tolerate such brutality and asked for reforming school curriculum and seminaries who were radicalising the society.
“How many deaths will it take before our people wake up to the fact that we have to finally confront our own demons, which all of us are responsible for creating over the last 30 years,” said Arieb Azhar, adding that it was high time the society was purged of these demons. He further said that until all different sections of society realise that they have to be unified against the demons, there was no future for the country.
“They [terrorists] know very well what they want, they want the destruction of this democratic system. They want the destruction of the Constitution of Pakistan, they want the destruction of our country which is based on humanist principles. We, on the other hand, are still dispersed and are waging this battle individually so it is high time that we united against this evil.”
“This is not a cosmetic investigation – we mean business. This is a threat to murder against our lives. I want the state to take action and I want Mujrim Aziz to be investigated,” said Shan Taseer, adding that the media should censor the structures of power.
“Supporters of terrorists should also be taken to task,” said rights activist Farzana Bari, adding that the people had done what they could and it was the responsibility of the state to proceed with legal action. “If they will be able to arrest these people, it will send out good signal and show the government’s commitment that they are really serious.”
As civil society members protested, a larger crowd comprising members of Wafaqul Madaris held a silent vigil to express their support with the victims. Contingents of police in riot gear and wielding batons were also present at the protest site to prevent any untoward incident.