Top Lal Masjid cleric, in burqa, arrested

The head of the Lal Masjid AA Ghazi is arrested while trying to escape from the shrine posed as an "aunty".
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Updated on Jul 05, 2007 04:31 AM IST
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PTI | ByKJM Varma, Islamabad

The head of the Lal Masjid Abdul Aziz Ghazi posed as an "aunty" while trying to escape on Wednesday in a burqa from the shrine surrounded by Pakistani troops.

Considered as the mastermind of the present stand off, Aziz, his wife and daughter, all wearing burqas, managed to walk past the first level of security manned by paramilitary Rangers but was caught by Islamabad women police constables while physically checking him.

As the women constables approached to check Aziz, his wife referred to him as an aunty who was very sick and asked the constables to not to touch him. But the women constables insisted on checking him and yelled to see a bearded "aunty" beneath the burqa.

At this point of time he along with his daughter tried to run back to the Lal Majid, but was caught, officials said. It was only later they came to know that he was Aziz.

The title "Aunty" became famous as Aziz's moral brigade a few months ago had abducted a woman called "Aunty Shamim", a middle aged woman from the near by locality alleging that she ran a brothel.

Lal Masjid spokesman Abdul Qayyum Haqqani said that Aziz had gone out of the mosque without consulting anyone.

But, Maulana Abdul Rashid Ghazi, Aziz's brother and Deputy of the Lal Masjid, said that the cleric went out of the mosque to meet an "important" personality.

Ghazi also confirmed that wife of Maulana Abdul Aziz was arrested. Ghazi said Aziz was the main source behind the Lal Masjid movement, saying the arrest has weakened the movement and there is possibility to suspend the movement for some time.

Maulana Abdul Aziz was shifted to unknown location for questioning, official sources said. He will face charges of terrorism, murder, kidnapping and many others as cases have already registered against him.

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