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Pak cleric launches campaign for Sharia law

November 14, 2015 04:02 IST

The controversial cleric of Pakistan's Lal Masjid on Friday stoked tension in the capital by holding a rally as part of his campaign to demand the implementation of Islamic Sharia law in the country.

Abdul Aziz and his wife Umme Hasaan led the rally of students of Jamia Hafsa seminary in the heart of Islamabad in a grim reminder of a similar campaign in 2007 that led to a brutal army crackdown on the mosque in which over 100 students and suspected militants of extremists groups were killed.

The protesters shouted anti-government slogans and praised Aziz. They also demanded the enforcement of a system based on the Quran and Sunnah.

The government first tried to persuade Aziz to call off his campaign and later deployed police and Rangers around Lal Masjid and its affiliated seminary Jamia Hafsa to keep peace.

No untoward incident occurred but it created fear among the residents of the capital who witnessed the week-long siege of the mosque in 2007.

Aziz had announced last week he would start the campaign for Islamic law in the country.

Aziz's younger brother Abdul Rasheed Ghazi was also killed in the army raid but Aziz himself survived.

He had tried to escape clad in a veil but was arrested and tried for several cases of murder and sedition.

However, he was not convicted and allowed to go home and even resumed his activities, including giving Friday sermons at the mosque owned by the government and located in the heart of the capital.

He continued to make inflammatory speeches including praising Taliban militants but government and security institutions failed to check him.

Though a case of criminal intimidation was lodged against Aziz last year in December but no tangible action was taken.

His campaign for Sharia law comes when the government is battling militancy and extremism across the country.

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