Madrassa students not getting back 'seized' stuff

ISLAMABAD, July 23: It's now over a week since the Lal Masjid operation ended, but the madrassa students who surrendered to the law enforcement agencies during weeklong mosque siege have still not been handed back their belongings.

Just pay a visit to the Pakistan Sports Complex and you will come across scores of students pleading officials to return their stuff that they had handed to the law enforcers on surrender. They possess receipts duly signed by the district administration but even then, they are still unsuccessful in claiming their goods, which include cell phones, clothes, mattresses, books, bags and cash. On inquiry, they are told that the stuff is in the Islamabad police's custody and would be released only after fulfilling legal formalities.

Sana Wisal, 8, who surrendered along with her five-year-old sister on the third day of the operation is also among the distressed students. Basically, this ex-student of Jamia Hafsa belongs to Peshawar and on Saturday, she was at the Sports Complex for the third time since the completion of the Lal Masjid operation. "It's my third visit to the place, but still the authorities are making excuses about my things, which include clothes, a mattress, telephone diary and Rs 2,000 cash," she said.

"Today, I've been asked to come over on Monday. I will come on Monday, but for the last time, as I can't afford coming to Islamabad from Peshawar again and again," she said.

Abdul Hafiz is a 20 years old ex-student of Jamia Fareedia who was freed from the Adiala Jail a few days ago. He claims he was asked by the jail authorities to collect his possessions from the Sports Complex but has been denied the same for the last three days.

"On the first day of my reaching the Complex, I was asked to wait for two days. I complied with the instructions, but after two days when I came over again, I was shocked to learn that they (authorities) have no knowledge of my belongings taken by law enforcers on surrender," he said. He cried if students were not to be handed their stuff, authorities should ask them not to visit the place again and again.

Haji Ikram, a Jamia Fareedia student also released by Adiala Jail, regretted he had been denied a new mobile phone set and some cash. Daily times



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