|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Pak: Lal Masjid head cleric charged with terrorism
K J M Varma in Islamabad | July 05, 2007 22:51 IST
The head cleric of the Lal Masjid, who was arrested on Wednesday while trying to flee the besieged mosque wearing a burqa, was on Thursday charged with terrorism, abduction of six Chinese women and possession of illegal arms.
In all seven charges were slapped against Maulana Abdul Aziz, who was remanded to seven days' police custody by an anti-terrorism court in nearby Rawalpindi.
His daughter, who was also arrested, was sent to police custody as well.
Interestingly his wife, who came out of the mosque on Wednesday night along with burqa-clad Aziz and their daughter in a failed bid to help her husband escape, was not charged or produced in the court.
The six Chinese women for whose abduction he has been charged were kidnapped by girl students of his seminary last month from a massage parlour alleging that they indulged in prostitution.
Earlier, Aziz was interviewed by the state-run PTV where he was grilled while being clad in a burqa and even made to demonstrate how he covered his face when he came out of the mosque on Wednesday.
The treatment meted out to him as well as the terrorism charges slapped on him were apparently aimed at sending a stern message to his younger brother Maulana Abdul Rashid Ghazi, who was still holed up inside the mosque along with several hundred militants, to surrender.
Ghazi was trying to negotiate with the government from inside the mosque to let his family retain control of the Lal Masjid and two madrassas housing about 7,000 students.