Lal Masjid hints at support for PTI's Islamabad lockdown

ISLAMABAD: The Shuhada Foundation, which handles all of Lal Masjid cleric Maulana Aziz’s interactions with the media, on Monday said it could extend support to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) for its planned siege of Islamabad.

“The government has crossed its limits in its enmity with Islam and the country,” said Hafiz Ehtesham, a spokesperson for the foundation, adding that the foundation’s central executive council would meet in the coming days to make a formal decision in regard to joining the PTI protest on November 2.

Students affiliated with the Red Mosque paralysed the capital for weeks in 2007. Security forces conducted a raid on the mosque and its seminary, Jamia Hafsa, killing over 100 people. The Shuhada Foundation comprises of the relatives of those who were killed during clashes with the security forces.

“The Nawaz government is hatching conspiracies against the country’s security and threatening national security institutions. Time is ripe to get rid of the Nawaz government,” he added.

The spokesperson further revealed that the foundation was discussing extending “conditional support” to the PTI, claiming that the government was actively taking action against religious parties to appease the US and India.

Ehtesham claimed the government was ‘conspiring’ against mosques and religious seminaries, leaving the Lal Masjid almost no option but to support the anti-government protest.

“Thousands of Shuhada Foundation activists will be part of PTI’s protest if we formally announce support,” said the spokesperson.

The Shuhada Foundation statement comes following an announcement by Difa-e-Pakistan Council – an alliance of various religious and political groups such as Jamaatud Dawa and Ahle Sunnat wal Jamaat – to meet in Islamabad to discuss their support for PTI’s plan to seal Islamabad.

Difa-e-Pakistan is led by Maulana Samiul Haq, chief of JUI-S and the main seminary Haqqania in Akora Khattak.

The PTI-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government allocated Rs300 million for the religious seminary in the 2016-17 annual budget - a move that sparked widespread criticism.

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