03/30/2007, 00.00
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“Taleban” violence spreads to Islamabad

by Qaiser Felix
Three women captured by female students of a madrassah were freed today, one of them forced to “immoral behaviour”. There is increased concern that the entire country may become prey to a form of Taleban violence. The president of Pakistan Minorities Alliance tells AsiaNews: “It is wrong to leave justice in the hands of small groups and not in the hands of the law”.

Islamabad (AsiaNews) –The women captured three days ago by female students of an Islamic school in Islamabad were freed today.  They were accused of running a brothel.  The case has only been resolved on the surface, however: there is rising concern among the Pakistani community regarding the governments failure to react to the extremist attack which was carried out on March 27th by the extremists, who had taken three women and a six month old baby hostage.  


Shahbaz Bhatti, chairman All Pakistan Minorities alliance (APMA), told AsiaNews that “APMA strongly condemns the action of female students of Jamia Hafsa girls’ seminary. This action is against the law of land, unethical, violates the constitution of Pakistan and an attempt to impose the Talibanisation in the capital”.

Police arrested Madressah Hafsa teachers Tasleem Bibi and Seyeda Bibi with two activists, Qari Aziz and Maroof. Wednesday, Leaders and hundreds of men and women activists from the local madressahs forcibly detained two security personnel in protest against detention of their four supporters, two of them women teachers of Madressah Hafsa. The two officers were also released today.


The three victims were only released after “Aunty Shamim”, the presumed owner of the brothel, read a confession in which she admits to having carried out “immoral acts” and promised to live henceforth according to God’s laws.  Immediately after her released she disclaimed the confession which she said was extracted under extortion, declaring her innocence and explaining that she had only rented a room to women who may have used it inappropriately.


After the raid on the brothel, the madrassah students barricaded themselves into local shops for a number of days.  According to Dawn they were to an extent encouraged in their actions by the government’s failure to react to their occupation of a children’s books store some months previously, a store that they still control.  


The Imam of the Mosque, Ghazi Abdul Rashid, had warned that “We will not release the women unless a ‘strong’ stance is registered against them so that they can be taken to task for their immoral activities”. According to a security official, the ulema were trying to expand their operations in the city in the name of Jihad.


Islamabad Deputy Commissioner Chaudhry Mohammad Ali said the ulema had a facility to use frequencies of FM radio and on Wednesday they blocked four frequencies -- FM 92 to 96 – to launch their propaganda through radio for an hour in the morning.

This Armed attack and kidnapping of women by students of a (madrassah) seminary is alarming and dangerous, said APMA chairman, because if there was something wrong, it was the duty of law enforcement agencies and administration to take action but not the students of madrassah to take law in their hands at their own. Such type of incidents would encourage promoting talibanisation not only in the capital but across the whole country. Actually these people are inspired by the philosophy of Taliban and Al Qaida and they want to impose the Islamic system of their own by hook or crook and the government should stop them immediately”.

 According to Bhatti if the government can not control these things in the capital of the country, how it can claim to stop terrorism and extremism in the other parts of the country.   Apma is very much concerned about this situation and urge the government to control this as soon as possible prior spreading it throughout the country.

“These people of Madrassas should be given religious freedom but they should have to stop such type of violent attacks and kidnappings – concludes Bhatti - Otherwise how we can say we are living in a civilised country because these practices signal that there is no law in the country”.


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