Jamia Hafsa, children's library razed
ISLAMABAD, July 26: The Jamia Hafsa and the nearby children's library
were razed as part of the government's three-day-long clean up operation,
conducted amid tight security.
The bullet-riddled building of Jamia
Hasfa, Lal Masjid's seminary for girls, had more than 75 rooms. Both the
buildings were demolished after the National Engineering Services of Pakistan
(Nespak) declared them 'unsafe' because of the heavy damage sustained during the
fierce encounter between the troops and the militants.
The people of
Islamabad, especially those living near the Lal Masjid-Jamia Hafsa complex,
showed mixed reaction over the demolition.
Some 1,770 girl students were
enrolled with the seminary.
The Jamia Hafsa's students illegally occupied
the children's library on Jan 21 to protest against the demolition of some
mosques that had been declared 'unauthorised' by the Capital Development
After the incident, the seminary students violated the
law by kidnapping several Chinese nationals, local women and security officials
and threatened CDs shop owners.
They even resorted to burning government
buildings in a bid to compel the government to 'enforce Sharia'.
religious organisations staged a demonstration to protest the razing of the
The residences of Maulana Abdul Aziz and Abdul Rashid Ghazi
were also bulldozed in the operation that began on Monday.
"We have hired
heavy earth-moving machinery for the operation in which over 200 workers are
taking part," Capital Development Authority's (CDA) Chairman Kamran Lashari said.
Meanwhile, an official said it was a joint operation being
conducted by the CDA, Islamabad and Punjab police and Rangers under the
supervision of military authorities. However, an interior ministry spokesman and
the CDA claimed that the army had nothing to do with the
During the clean-up operation, the area around Lal Masjid was
cordoned off and heavy contingents of security forces were deployed, greatly
inconveniencing the residents of sector G-6 as police and Rangers' personnel
barricaded all streets leading to the Lal Masjid.
During the past years,
the Lal Masjid administration had persistently constructed illegal structures in
the mosque-madressah complex but it had accelerated the pace of construction
during the tenure of the present government.
Another CDA official said
that the mosque's administration had encroached upon about 7,500 square yards
(16 kanals) of land for the construction of the Jamia Hafsa.
He said the
Lal Masjid administration had encroached upon three plots allocated specifically
for a women's library, an author's corner and a gymnasium. The women library was
a project of the education ministry and it had since been provided with an
The CDA had served several notices on the mosque's
administration and several anti-encroachment operations had been planned but all
such actions had been prevented by some people in power, the sources
The Jamia Hafsa's four-storeyed building was completed in 2003 and
the CDA had tried to stop it during its construction, but a federal minister
always interfered, stopping any action against the seminary, the officials
Meanwhile, the newly-appointed Imam of the Lal Masjid, Maulana
Mohammad Ashfaq, took over the mosque's charge on Wednesday. He will lead the
Friday prayers in the mosque which is being opened for the first time after the
government crackdown. Dawn