Following in the footsteps of Lal Masjid’s Maulana Abdul Aziz, another cleric in Islamabad has refused to vacate his post as a prayer leader at Masjid-e-Shuhada despite being reaching the age of superannuation.
According to reports, Maulana Ghulam Rasool refused to leave his post even though he retired last year and a new prayer leader, Maulana Amir Siddique — nephew of Aziz and a former Lal Masjid khateeb — was appointed to take charge of the mosque situated in the Aabpara area.
With the Auqaf Department’s inability to fix the issue, the rift between the two clerics has led to multiple disputes between the supporters. Rasool’s supporters have refused to allow Siddique to lead the prayers at the mosque, which compelled him to approach the Aabpara police station to file a complaint, followed by a counter police complaint filed by Rasool.
The dispute at Masjid-e-Shuhada follows a standoff at Lal Masjid that began when Maulana Aziz returned to the mosque last month, reiterating his claim to be its prayer leader. The situation, however, turned serious a few weeks ago when over 100 female students entered the Jamia Hafsa in Islamabad’s Sector H-11 by breaking its official seal.
Subsequently, officers from the capital administration approached Lal Masjid to meet Maulana Aziz, but the talks remained inconclusive as the cleric insisted that a senior authority equivalent to a federal minister should negotiate with him.
Since then, a multitude of clerics, including two delegations, have met both parties — the interior ministry and Maulana Aziz — but failed to end the standoff.