ISLAMABAD - The demonstrations unleashed by civil society organisations in Islamabad since Thursday last against the massacre in Peshawar school has turned into a movement against Lal Masjid .

The ‘Arrest Maulana Abdul Aziz’ agitation spearheaded by civil society activists on the call of a Karachi-based non-partisan activist Jibran Nasir has although succeeded in booking the radical cleric by police yet it has apparently failed in mobilising members of civil society on ground.

The protest seems to be discussed and supported more on social media, particularly on Facebook and Twitter, than being heard on the streets in Islamabad. “We are outside Aabpara Police Station. We are just 100. Stop sleeping Islamabad. Come join us for God sake and get FIR registered,” this is what Jibran Nasir sounded hopeless due to the small number of participants for a big cause that he claimed would become a national movement.

But his tweet was circulated nearly 250 times on twitter, more than the participants present on the ground getting over 500 ‘likes’ on Facebook.

On Monday, around 80 participants gathered at Aabpara Chowk to press for their demands that included arrest of Maulana Abdul Aziz, besides requesting electronic media not to give airtime to radical clerics.

The small gathering further shed when the participants marched towards Aapbara Police Station for including more sections in the FIR they had lodged against Maulana Aziz.

Sarwar Bari, head of Pattan, a non-governmental organisation, however, said that civil society was not a political party but a torch-bearer and that its protests were meant for awakening the general public.

He said the civil society had been raising voice against extremism in the country, arguing that time has come that everybody should realise the horrific faces of Taliban. “I think this symbolic protest will change the shape of political landscape in country in a sense that the government will take practical measures to eliminate extremism,” he added.

Moreover, the participants do not exactly know about Jibran who has come from Karachi and some doubting his motives behind the unusual protest. Jibran, unlike other civil society activists, has no similar platform saying he is non-partisan.

“I represent no political party and NGO. I have come to awaken the residents of Islamabad and the rest of country against the dangers of extremism,” he told this reporter.

Even Sarwar Bari did not exactly know Jibran Nasir when asked and said that he had heard that Nasir was a former activist of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) in Karachi but he contested election from NA-250 independently.

However, the protesters despite small in number have been successful in grabbing media attention and making the otherwise orthodox cleric humble by triggering police to file case against him.

“Our children at schools are vulnerable to terror attacks, mainly because religious leaders like Mualana Abdul Aziz openly defend the attacks carried out by Taliban. We will continue to hold demonstrations until the cleric is arrested,” Jibran Nasir told the gathering.

The rights activists, most of them women, have also shown extraordinary courage by holding vigil in memory of victims of Peshawar attack outside Lal Masjid chanting slogans against its head cleric.

The protesters also denounced threatening calls to Jibran Nasir by Taliban, demanding of the government to trace the caller. The participants also raised voice for introducing reforms in religious seminaries as, according to them, religious institutions were breeding extremism in country.