ISLAMABAD: Submitting to a huge outcry from civil society, the chief cleric of Lal Masjid Maulana Abdul Aziz apologised for failing to unconditionally condemn the Peshawar massacre carried out by Taliban on December 16.
“I condemn the killing of schoolchildren and apologise,” Aziz said while talking to The Express Tribune.
The cleric admitted he realised his mistake only after his followers convinced him. He clarified that he did not threaten any member of civil society and police have registered FIR against him under social pressure which is not a good precedent.
Aziz said his personal opinion was unnecessarily propagated in the media. “I forgave Musharraf for launching military operation against us, how it is possible that I was not saddened by the killing of innocent schoolchildren,” he added.
Aziz said that Altaf Hussain’s statement against Lal Masjid was provocative and warrants legal action. “I could not see any condemnation against such a blatant statement,” he complained. “This is not a good idea to burn sacred places. This mosque (Lal Masjid) is not my creation. It was built by General Ayub Khan in 1965, which belongs to the government,” Aziz said.
Certain sects are involved behind these protests and they are trying to befool people, he said. We condemn every incident of violence, whether it was massacre in Peshawar or brutal killing of children during drone attacks or in Lal masjid, Aziz maintained.
MQM senator Tahir Hussain Mashhadi said that the cleric is trying to give sectarian hue to conceal his crime and is trying to start sectarian conflict.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 21st, 2014.