Maulana Abdul Aziz, the imam of Islamabad’s Lal Masjid, has submitted a written apology to police over his implied defence of the Dec 16 attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar, local media quoting Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan reported on Sunday.
The minister was talking to journalists after ending a three-day visit to Washington.
Asked why Islamabad was reluctant to arrest the Lal Masjid cleric, Khan said the government was careful, not reluctant.
“It is not difficult to arrest him. But we want to keep our focus on the ongoing operation against militants,” he said. “Any other action at this stage will create a diversion and benefit the militants.”
The minister recalled that after the Lal Masjid operation in 2007, the Musharraf government was forced to bring Maulana Aziz back from his village and provide him special security.
“We do not want to take a decision that we have to review later,” he said. “If we arrest him and it leads to yet another tragic incident, it will have very negative consequences. So I believe that we have to sequence our actions,” he added.