Jamia Fareedia still stands unscathed

ISLAMABAD, July 6(Daily Times): Life in the city remains peaceful but tense even as curfew restrictions were strictly observed around Lal Masjid.

However, normalcy prevailed around Jamia Fareedia in the upscale Sector E-7 after the clash between the fighting mullahs of Lal Masjid and military, Rangers and police, accounting for at least 16 deaths so far.

The administration has tightened security around the seminary by deploying extra police force. Heavy contingents of Punjab and Islamabad police are patrolling the roads around Jamia Fareedia.

Some residents, including foreigners, were walking dogs and others were jogging in front of the seminary in the evening. Hafiz Saleem, a seminary student, said that out of the 1,500 total students of Jamia Fareedia, only 400 went to Lal Masjid to back the Jehad against the government in Sector G-6.

He said most of the jihadis had been arrested and shifted to Adiala Jail. Another student said about 800 students had returned home for fear of a military action. He said some teachers had also returned home as they preferred not to be part of the Jehad.

Sabih Khan, a woman strolling on a road parallel to the seminary said some police officials visited the seminary on Wednesday evening and were still patrolling the roads around Jamia Fareedia. She said no extraordinary measures had been taken to normalise the situation.

"An operation will be launched against Jamia Fareedia," said Alian, a resident. Faheem Aslam, another resident, said people were afraid of an expected operation against Jamia Fareedia after Lal Masjid.

"It is better to solve the issue through dialogue instead of bloodshed," said Zulfiqar Ali of E-7. He criticised both the government and the Lal Masjid mullahs for going too far. Muhammad Hanif, a house servant, said the seminary students had been visiting the house, where he worked, to preach over the last five years. "It is the government that has provoked the students by demolishing mosques in the federal capital," he said.

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