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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Pakistani delays release of Taliban-linked cleric

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, April 16,IRNA- Pakistan Thursday delayed over security concerns release of prayers leader of Islamabad’s Red Mosque, where a bloody gun-battle between the Taliban-linked militants and security forces claimed the lives of over 100 people in 2007, his supporters said.

Maulana Abdul Aziz, was arrested when the security forces attacked the mosque and nearby girls seminary ‘Jamia Hafsa’, to expel students, who resisted the forces for three days in July 2007.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered his release on the plea that the government lawyers failed to produce evidence against him.

Deputy Imam of the mosque Abdul Rashid Ghazi, the brother of Maulana Aziz, and his mother were among those died in the fighting.

The government had filed 27 cases against Maulana Abdul Aziz including kidnapping of Chinese women, holding policemen hostage, killing a paramilitary soldier and occupying a government-run Children Library.

“It is unjustified that Maulana Aziz has not been freed despite the court orders and fulfilling are legal requirements,” Imam of the Red Mosque Maulana Omar Siddiq said.

Officials said that Maulana Aziz has planned to visit Red Mosque after his release which can create security problems. That is why his release has been delayed.

Analysts say that release of Maulana Abdul Aziz is the result of an understanding with the government. Maulana Aziz has already been shifted from a government-owned rest house to a private house.

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