Lal Masjid chief defiantly calls for imposition of Islamic law in Pak

Islamabad, Apr.17 (ANI): The head of the radical Lal Masjid (Red Mosque), which was stormed by Pakistani troops in 2007, led thousands of his followers in a Friday prayer meeting and called for the enforcement of Islamic laws across the militancy-plagued country.

Thousands of people crammed into the rebuilt mosque on Friday to hear Aziz lead prayers and deliver a rallying call for opponents of nuclear-armed Pakistan’s shaky democratic order.

‘I tell you that you should be ready to make sacrifices for Islam. The day is not far away when Islam will be enforced in the whole of the country,’ the bespectacled, grey-bearded cleric said, his voice carried on loudspeakers to crowds that spilled out into neighbouring streets.

‘What we have seen in Swat and the tribal areas is the result of the sacrifices at the Red Mosque: the students, the people who were martyred,’ Aziz said.

The Red Mosque siege was a turning point in Pakistan’s slide into religious extremism and violence.

Army commandos assailed the complex days after heavily armed militants holed up inside fought gunbattles with police and refused to surrender. The government says 102 people, including 11 security personnel, were killed.

Aziz was arrested as he tried to sneak out of the mosque compound, which included a seminary for girls, dressed in an all-covering burqa worn by some Muslim women. He was released on Thursday. (ANI)