Anti-terror court frees former Lal Masjid clericApril 16th, 2009 - 7:59 pm ICT by IANS
Islamabad, April 16 (IANS) A day after the Supreme Court granted him bail, an anti-terror court Thursday freed Maulana Abdul Aziz, the former cleric of the Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) who had triggered a bitter standoff with the security forces that left more than 100 people dead.
Aziz’s lawyer Shaukat Siddiqui said he would be released after posting a bond of Rs.200,000.
The cleric had 27 cases registered against him and had been granted bail in 25 cases, while one had been dropped.
DPA adds: The Supreme Court ruling followed a petition filed by Aziz challenging the denial of bail by a lower court in a case regarding the illegal occupation of a state-owned library adjacent to the mosque.
The cases against the cleric were filed after he was arrested trying to escape, disguised as a burqa-clad woman, shortly before military commandos stormed the Lal Masjid to end the standoff with his armed pupils in July 2007.
Operation Silence left more than 100 people dead, including around a dozen security personnel, according to the government.
The military attack on the Lal Masjid sparked a series of suicide attacks across Pakistan. Militant Muslims claim that more than 3,000 female students in the adjoining girls’ seminary also died in the operation. The government denied those allegations.
Tags: abdul aziz, allegations, cleric, commandos, denial, female students, illegal occupation, lal masjid, military attack, muslims, pupils, red mosque, rs 200, security forces, security personnel, seminary, shaukat siddiqui, standoff, suicide attacks, supreme court ruling