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Home > News > PTI

Lal Masjid a state within a state: Ex-Pak minister

July 04, 2007 18:02 IST

Pakistan's former tourism minister Nilofar Bakhtiar has said that extremism was on the rise in the country with the radical Lal Masjid in Islamabad becoming a state within a state.

She urged the Pakistan Supreme Court to take suo motu action against the Lal Masjid administration for issuing a false fatwa against her.

Expressing alarm at the rapid rise of extremism in Pakistan, the former minister said if the apex court did not take any action, she would initiate civil and criminal proceedings against the mosque for damaging her reputation and her political career.

She pointed out that she had already served a legal notice on the so-called Sharia court established by the Lal Masjid administration, but the radical clerics had not apologised to her.

About the government's reluctance to order a crackdown on the radical madrassa students and clerics over the last few months, Bakhtiar said this query should be put to President Pervez Musharraf [Images].

Senator Bakhtiar regretted that neither the government nor her Pakistan Muslim League party supported her, leaving her with no option but to resign from the cabinet, the Dawn daily said in a report from New York.

While in office, the senator said, she had courageously advocated the cause of women's rights, something which no one in the present government appreciated.

She told the media that Pakistan's system could not be changed with landlords running the show.

Bakhtiar had served a legal notice on the Lal Masjid's Sharia court in June for issuing a fatwa, alleging that the decree had damaged her reputation, family honour and political career.

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