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Govt warned of 'madrassa backlash'

ISLAMABAD, July 9: Wafaqul Madaris, a body of madrassas countrywide, on Sunday warned the government of a backlash from madrassa students and clerics if security forces continued their siege of Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa.

Wafaq clerics, headed by Maulana Salimullah Khan, conveyed the warning to Pakistan Muslim League President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain in Islamabad on Sunday.

The clerics asked the PML chief to tell President General Pervez Musharraf that the Lal Masjid operation should be immediately halted, Qari Hanif Jalhandri of the Wafaq said after meeting with Chaudhry Shujaat.

He would not elaborate on how madrassas would react if the Lal Masjid operation were not halted. He said that the Wafaq would call a Supreme Council meeting shortly to consider the Lal Masjid operation and the situation arising out of it.

Qari Hanif said that the Wafaq demanded amnesty for Lal Masjid deputy chief cleric Abdul Rashid Ghazi and militant madrassa students who have been holed up in the mosque for the last six days. "We feel the general amnesty for those inside the mosque and Jamia Hafsa will prevent further loss of lives," Hanif said. He condemned the takeover of Jamia Faridia, Lal Masjid's madrassa for boys in E-7, by law enforcement agencies.

He said Chaudhry Shujaat had assured the Wafaq delegates that he would communicate their sentiments to the president.

Meanwhile, twin city clerics led by Qari Saeedur Rehman and MNA Maulana Shah Abdul Aziz also demanded amnesty for Ghazi Abdul Rashid and his diehard supporters holed up in the mosque. daily times
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