Hafsa students still speak of suicide attacks

PESHAWAR, July 6(Dawn): Perturbed by the arrest of Lal Masjid's khateeb Maulana Abdul Aziz, Jamia Hafsa students from the Upper Dir district who were brought back home by parents said they felt they had betrayed their teachers and friends who were still there.

They even expressed their willingness to launch 'suicide attacks' if they got an opportunity to go back to Islamabad.

They said they took part in the 'anti-vice' campaign launched by the 'Jamia Hafsa brigade' on their own whenever they received complaints.

They claimed responsibility for all of their acts, including the kidnapping of policemen, 'aunty Shamim' and her family members and Chinese men and women in different raids.

"Our school administration and the principal never stopped or directed us to take such steps to stop vice," they said. "The female students used to hire vans and take up sticks to curb vice whenever somebody came with a complaint to us.

"Maulana sahib or our principal never directed us to take such steps, neither did they stop us," said the students.

"I feel sad that I had to leave the seminary and come home under family pressure and leave my fellows in the lurch," said Bint-i-Mohammad Zada, a resident of Gandigar area in Upper Dir.

Bint-i-Mohammad Zada - a worried student of Jamia Hafsa who was brought back by her parents - said students left their seminary for homes unwillingly. She said she would go back to Islamabad whenever possible to launch attacks against the government.

"At homes no one can stop the Mujahideen. The government has targeted our seminary and disrupted our religious education," remarked an 18-year-old student of Jamia Hafsa.

Another dedicated student who seemed in a state of trance could not believe that the Maulana had been arrested. She said that she would not have left the seminary but for her mother's repeated calls and pleas to come back.

"I have not been able to eat or do anything else. I am sad and concerned about the well-being of my teachers and other fellows who were at the seminary," a tense and concerned student who studied in Jamia Hafsa for the last two years said on phone from her home in Upper Dir.

The situation inside the seminary was tense, as students were desperately praying and offering Tahajjud to seek God's help in the crisis, she said.

She said that students aged between 5 and 18 years from various districts of the country and Afghanistan studied at the seminary. They were going through a lot of tension in the last five months when the stand-off with the government materialised, she said.

"I would have never left the seminary because the Maulana told us not to be afraid of martyrdom and we were all mentally ready for that," she said. "He is like a 'wali of Allah'," she claimed.

"Our seminary was like a paradise for us. We had every facility. Above all, the Maulana sahib's speeches inspired us."

She was of the opinion that the seminary students or the 'Mujahideen' had waged a jihad against the vice in the capital and their only demand was implementation of the Sharia. "It is futile to live in this world full of vice. And I don't feel like living this life anymore," she added sadly.



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