Madrassa students kidnap, free 3 more cops
ISLAMABAD, May 22(Daily Times): Students of the Jamia Fareedia madrassa briefly
kidnapped another three policemen on Monday, as the area remained tense at the
prospect of a crackdown on Lal Masjid.
An operation at Lal Masjid
appeared imminent on Sunday after the arrests of 37 madrassa students, but the
spotlight shifted to Jamia Fareedia, located at the foot of the Margalla Hills
in the posh E-7 Sector, on Monday.
A heavy contingent of police and
Rangers backed by armoured personnel carriers moved within a kilometre of the
madrassa as students holding batons stood guard outside. Some 2,500 Punjab
Constabulary personnel were called in to take part in a possible operation to
free the kidnapped policemen.
The students took SI Islam, ASI Zulqarnain
and Constable Afrasyab from a police van patrolling the area, Islamabad's Deputy
Commissioner Chaudhry Muhammad Ali said. A madrassa spokesman denied
that the cops were beaten up. Madrassa students had also tried to kidnap the SHO
of Kohsar police station.
The policemen were released after negotiations
between the Islamabad administration and the madrassa management. "Yes, the
three policemen have been freed," SSP Zafar Iqbal said. Madrassa students also
kidnapped four policemen on Friday. Two of them were freed on Saturday in
exchange for the release of four of their men. The road immediately in front of
Lal Masjid remained blocked for a second day.
The madrassa spokesman
said the latest action was in response to the police's refusal to disclose the
whereabouts of the students picked up the day before. Lal Masjid's deputy chief
cleric Abdul Rashid Ghazi said another 15 students were arrested on Monday.