Cellular signals were suspended within one kilometre of Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa in Sectors G-6 and G-7, which are adjacent to the mosque and the seminary. If the Lal Masjid cleric is so dangerous that services to common citizens have to be blocked, why is the state not going after the rogues, who in 2007 had the audacity to attack the state?

And it doesn’t end here. Maulana Abdul Aziz wants the Jamia Hafsa rebuilt though government funds. The seminary attached to Lal Majid was damaged in the July 2007 military operation against suspected militants holed up inside the compound. Last week, Lal Masjid cleric Abdul Aziz had filed an application in the apex court, requesting it to direct the authorities to implement the Supreme Court’s October 2, 2007 verdict. The verdict had directed the federal government to register an FIR for desecration of the Holy Quran and the murder of innocent people inside Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa during the military operation. The court had told the government to provide monetary compensation to the heirs of the victims and also reconstruct Jamia Hafsa within one year and arrange for education, boarding and lodging of female students. The court of the time seems to be from an alternative universe.

The law-enforcement agencies yesterday briefly held six persons in front of Lal Masjid as soon as they reached there to stage a protest against the mosque’s chief cleric’s role in fanning intolerance in society. This was a small group holding placards with slogans against terrorism. They were also holding photographs of the slain Punjab Governor Salman Taseer and martyrs of APS. Maulana Aziz remains but dissenting voices are removed. The NGO-registration obsessed Federal Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Friday clarified that there was no solid reason to arrest Maulana Abdul Aziz. What is the use of military operations and national action plans when the state is not able to handle one firebrand mullah? The Interior Ministry seems to be either too afraid or part of the whole scheme. What scheme of new strategic depth this is, is beyond comprehension. The victims are ordinary citizens who want to see an end to hate speech and radicalism.