Radical Pakistan cleric booked after Taliban flags hoisted at women’s seminary

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Pakistan police have registered a case against a prominent radical cleric and several others after the flags of the Afghan Taliban were found hoisted on the top of a women’s seminary here run by him, according to a media report on Sunday.

The white flags of the Afghan Taliban were spotted on the rooftop of the Jamia Hafsa, a women’s madrasa in the capital, on Saturday, Dawn newspaper reported.

After receiving information, the district administration sent a police contingent, including an anti-riot unit, which cordoned off the seminary.

A case was registered against Maulana Abdul Aziz — who is the cleric of the famous Lal Masjid (Red Mosque)– his collaborators as well as seminary students under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) and different sections of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), the report said.

Officers of the capital administration said Aziz openly threatened the police, who arrived at the seminary to remove the flags, with dire consequences by using the name of the Afghan Taliban.

Some people affiliated with the seminary, including Aziz, also displayed weapons.

The seminary students and teachers also challenged the police and taunted them with remarks, sparking tension in the area.

“Area cleared, flags removed, case registered,” the deputy commissioner Islamabad wrote on his Twitter handle.

This was the third time since August 21 the Afghan Taliban flags were hoisted on the seminary.

Earlier, at least five white flags were found installed on the rooftop of the seminary.

Hoisting of any flag is not a crime, as no law addresses the issue or under which legal action can be taken, the officers said, adding that the cleric took advantage of the legal lacuna.

However, hoisting flags of the Afghan Taliban on the building spread terror and insecurity among the residents, they said.

Aziz, who survived a military operation against the Lal Masjid in 2007, often violates local laws but always gets off scot-free as the government is afraid of extremist backlash in the country.

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