Islamabad - Calls for introducing sweeping reforms in religious seminaries continue to grow as protest demonstrations continued in the federal capital on Saturday over the brutal killing of school students by Taliban in Peshawar.

Civil society activists, who have been pointing the finger at Lal Majid for preaching radical Islam in the federal capital, on Saturday shifted their protest venue outside National Press Club, demanding of the government to introduce drastic Madrassa reforms in the country.

The activists staged their protest outside the entry gate of Lal Masjid on Thursday last, demanding the arrest of Lal Masjid head cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz for being sympathisers of Taliban, prompting police to close the nearby Masjid Road for traffic and public gatherings by placing concrete slabs on both of its ends.

Jibran Nasir, who led the demonstration unleashed by rights activists against Lal Masjid on Friday, succeeded in getting an FIR registered against Maulana Aziz after staging a sit-in outside Aabpara Police Station.

“We have registered a complaint against the radical cleric. Now it is up to the government to follow the law and arrest the cleric who justifies the massacre of innocent students by Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP),” Jibran told a small but charged gathering outside National Press Club on Saturday.

He warned of series of protests against Lal Masjid administration from Monday and vowed the protest would not be called off until the government arrests Maulana Aziz. “Maulana Aziz once boasted that Lal Masjid had 500 suicide bombers. Why has the government still spared him? He must be sent behind bars,” he told the participants amid anti-Lal Masjid slogans.

Noted physicist Pervez Hoodbhoy on the occasion said weeping over the tragic incident at Army Public School Peshawar was not enough, the country must be purged of hatred-based Islamic curriculum being taught at ideologically orthodox religious seminaries. “The Taliban had asked the students to recite Kalma before spraying the boys with bullets. It means the terrorists had been indoctrinated in Islamic teaching schools. It is the curriculum of hate that generates terrorists in the country,” he said.

“It is high time for us to revisit the textbooks being taught in our schools,” he said, adding that Lal Masjid had become bastion of those who teach students how to become suicide bombers. “Our children will continue to die in schools if mosques become schools of terror,” he added.

On the occasion students of religious seminary in Islamabad too staged protest outside the National Press Club for sympathising with the families of those students who were mercilessly killed in Peshawar school.

Abdul Quddoos Muhammadi, who is spokesman for Wifaqul Madaris, told his followers that Islam does not allow massacre of innocent students, adding that the culprits should be brought to justice.

However, they did not name Taliban and rather put the blame on, what they termed, foreign elements that were hell-bent on destabilising the government and defaming Islam as religion.

Civil society activists also accused the religious leaders of taking to streets only to snatch media attention from the rally that sought arrest of Maulana Abdul Aziz, accusing the students of religious seminary of bringing sticks to the venue.