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Over one lakh suicide bombers in Pak: cleric
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May 31, 2007 19:31 IST

A top cleric of the Lal Masjid in Islamabad has claimed that more than one lakh suicide bombers, including 10,000 in the two madrassas controlled by him, were present in Pakistan and were ready to explode at the command of their superiors.

These suicide attackers are ready to operate anywhere and anytime in Pakistan, Red Mosque's head cleric Abdul Aziz said.

"We consider suicide attacks are right in Pakistan under a few circumstances while we consider them as absolutely justified in the context of Afghanistan and Iraq," he was quoted by The News as saying. "We favoured the Taliban not only in the past, we favour them even today."

The Red Mosque-controlled madrassas for boys and girls has thousands of students. The burqa-clad girl students and the bamboo sticks-wielding boys have been giving a tough time to police in the capital since January.

Aziz denied the criticism from the opposition parties that he and his brother, who had been demanding imposition of Sharia law, were being used by intelligence agencies to counter the challenge posed by the suspension of Chief Justice Iftikhar M Chaudhry. "We are not operating under the command of any agency."

He also claimed that former ISI Chief Gen (Retd) Hamid Gul had told him during a conversation that according to the constitution, any citizen of Pakistan can play the role of a "law officer" if he observes some illegal activity somewhere and not find law-enforcement authorities there.

Asked why the Mosque administration did not do something for the poor, the cleric said they could not do anything for improving the condition of the poor with their limited resources. However, he said, they could stop people from doing wrong. "We are doing what we can do."

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