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Maulana Abdul Aziz hints at another rebellion
 
 
 
The Khateeb of Lal Masjid Maulana Abdul Aziz has hinted at launching another rebellion as, according to him, the country is full of corruption and morality.
"Pakistan is full of corruption and a lack of morality. The government doesn't think about the Muslims. So we must soon shoulder the responsibility again as we have done previously," Maulana Abdul Aziz said in an interview with Danish Daily, Politiken.
Maulana Abdul Aziz was the mastermind behind a rebellion by the Lal Masjid in 2007, which resulted into a military operation, costing some 154 lives. He was detained in house arrest between 2007 and 2009.
"This is a process I have already come a long way with, and will use whatever means are necessary," he said, adding that he is expanding his religious schools and that he currently has some 5,000 students.
The Lal Masjid, which was founded by Abdul Aziz' father Muhammad Abdullah, has two seminaries attached to its teachings -- one for women and one for men. After his father's assassination, Maulana Abdul Aziz and his brother Abdul Rashid Ghazi took over the mosque in 1998.
Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic & International Studies in Washington says suggestions of an impending new offensive from the Lal Masjid are deeply worrying.
"If Maulana Abdul Aziz is in the process of expanding his activities, it is very worrying. He has previously shown that he is able to carry out quite violent plans, and suggestions of a new rebellion should be taken very seriously," Cordesman said.
Shuja Nawaz, head of the South Asia Centre at the Atlantic Council in Washington and one of the world's leading experts on Pakistan, is even more sombre in his evaluation.
"Pakistan is in the process of a very important process of self-examination in connection with extremism. In that context a solid militant domestic rebellion can do serious damage to both Pakistan and its surroundings. At the end of the day, such a rebellion can mean that the West loses its most important ally in the War on Terror," Nawaz said.
Denmark's Foreign Minister Lene Espersen (Cons) says Abdul Aziz' message is "serious and deeply worrying".
"Extremism has had the freedom to grow in a Pakistan that is vital for security in Afghanistan and our battle against terrorism. An unstable Pakistan is much more dangerous than Afghanistan," Espersen says.
In a written statement to Politiken, Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani said he does not believe that extremism will be able to gain a foothold in Pakistan.
"Pakistan has the will and the strength to clear away terrorism," Gilani said.
"We neither can nor will let this nation's future be decided by a handful of extremists and radicalized groups who want to force their extremist agenda on a peaceful and moderate majority," he added.
 
 
 
 
 
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