Former chief cleric of Lal Masjid absolved in terror case | world | Hindustan Times
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Former chief cleric of Lal Masjid absolved in terror case

world Updated: Mar 26, 2010 16:20 IST

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A Pakistani court has acquitted former chief cleric of Lal Masjid, which was stormed by the military in July 2007 to flush out militants holed up inside, in a terrorism case and removed charges against him in four other cases.

Judge Malik Mohammad Akram Awan of Rawalpindi's anti-terrorism court no 1, who is also conducting the trial of seven suspects linked to the Mumbai attacks, on Thursday absolved Maulana Abdul Aziz in a case registered at Aabpara police station in Islamabad in 2007.

Aziz was charged in that case with disturbing law and order, violating a ban on unlawful assemblies and inciting violence.

The judge also removed terror charges against Aziz in four cases related to unlawful assembly, criminally intimidating members of the business community, kidnapping a Pakistani woman and the abduction of some Chinese masseurs.

These cases were registered in two police stations in Islamabad in 2007.

Aziz was released from detention last year after the Supreme Court granted him bail in all cases registered against him by law enforcement agencies.

he had been under house arrest since July 2007, when he was captured during the military operation against militants and members of radical groups who were holed up in the Lal Masjid.

Law enforcement agencies had registered 27 cases against Aziz. He was earlier acquitted in one of the cases.

The regime of former military ruler Pervez Musharraf launched the military operation against radical elements in the mosque in the heart of Islamabad after a standoff lasting several months.

Vigilante squads from the mosque had attempted to enforce their brand of Islamic law in parts of Islamabad and abducted persons they accused of indulging in "un-Islamic" activities.

About 100 people were killed in the military operation.