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For the Lal Masjid of Delhi, India, see Lal Masjid, Delhi.
Lal Masjid
Basic information
Location Islamabad, Pakistan
Affiliation Islam
Leadership Imam(s):Abdul Aziz Ghazi
Completed Constructed – 1966
Renovated – 2010

The Lal Masjid (Urdu: لال مسجد‎; translated: Red Mosque) is a mosque located in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan.


The Lal Masjid was built in 1965 and is named for its red walls and interiors. According to Capital Development Authority (CDA) records, the Lal Masjid is one of the oldest Mosques in Islamabad. Maulana Muhammad Abdullah was appointed its first imam. Abdullah was critical of all governments except Zia's with whom he was very close. General Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq had very close relationship with Maulana Muhammad Abdullah, the former head of the Mosque. During the Soviet war in Afghanistan (1979–1989), the Red Mosque played a major role in recruiting and training mujahideen to fight with the Afghan mujahideen. Throughout its existence, it has enjoyed patronage from influential members of the government, prime ministers, army chiefs, and presidents. Several thousand male and female students live in adjacent seminaries.[1]

After Maulana Muhammad Abdullah was assassinated in 1998, his sons Abdul Aziz Ghazi and Abdul Rashid Ghazi took over the mosque, making it a centre for hardline teaching and open opposition to the government. Abdul Aziz remained the official khatib of the masjid until he was removed in 2005 for issuing a controversial fatwa stating no Pakistani Army officer could be given an Islamic burial if died fighting the taliban.

The plot on which Lal Masjid was built was allotted by CDA. With the passage of time, the mosque administration encroached the surrounding area and a big complex like a fort was constructed. Due to influence and strong connections Lal Masjid have with the government high officials, the CDA remained unable to get the encroached land vacated till end 2006. In early 2007, CDA strongly persuaded and issued a vacation notice. Aziz and Rasheed, initiated move by taking possession of the Children Library located in the adjacent by using the female student force. These students were motivated in the name of religion and thus the visible conflict started. All this was to force the government to come to some compromise.


Main article: Siege of Lal Masjid
Location of Lal Masjid in Islamabad (marked with a red spot)

On July 3, 2007, the stand-off between the students barricaded inside the mosque and the government resulted in bloody gun battles in which over twenty people, including students of the mosque, members of the media, paramilitary personnel, and a businessman reportedly were killed and over one hundred others were injured. An FIR was later registered against the Ghazi brothers with charges ranging from kidnapping and murder to treason, as well as terrorism. People who supported the activities of Lal Masjid said they were only attacking "Chinese girls who were prostitutes and they are destroying CD shops who sold pornography". Lal Masjid held on to what many people call "pure and true Muslim ethic" and what the opposing parties called "fundamental and dogmatic".

The Ghazi brothers were negotiating the conflict with then Senior Minister for Religious Affairs, Ejazul Haq in consultation with Chaudry Shujaat, President Pakistan Muslim League (Q). Till last minute reports, the negotiations were deemed successful. Reportedly, after the minister left the Mosque, he changed his stance and could not defend the commitments he made at the mosque. To avoid collateral loss, on July 4, 2007, the government offered amnesty to juvenile students if they surrendered and over 1000 of the students who supported the cleric accepted. Abdul Aziz Ghazi was arrested while he was trying to escape dressed in a burqa. A reward was announced for the rangers who captured Abdul Aziz.

Government and Security officials had repeatedly asked Maulana Abdul Rashid Ghazi to surrender but he refused. He proposed that if government would give him and his students safe passage to allow him to live a silent life in his home village, he would hand over Lal Masjid to government, Jamia Hafsa and Jamia Faridia to Wafaqul Madaris (a federation of Madaris). This agreement was made between Ulmai Karam and Government including Prime Minister Shokat Aziz and Chohadri Shujaat Hussain but at the final moment Pervaiz Musharaf canceled the agreement[citation needed] and ordered to attack on mosque where hundreds of female students were present but refused to leave even on offer of safe passage. This was called "Operation Silence". Under cover of darkness, 164 elite commandos of the Pakistan Army Special Service Group stormed the Mosque/Madrassah complex from three sides. While police and paramilitary forces secured the outer perimeter of the complex, the gate and walls of the Mosque were breached.

Mosque stormed[edit]

On July 8, 2007, most of the private media outlets (such as Geo and Aaj, among others) became convinced from the movements of the security forces on the ground that they were preparing to storm the building. At dawn on Tuesday, July 10, after attempts at negotiation failed, government troops stormed the mosque, taking control of most of the complex. According to Inter Services Public Relations spokesman Maj Gen Waheed Arshad, the defendants were heavily armed and put up fierce resistance. According to the BBC, after the initial action, around fifty militants had been killed and eight soldiers martyred; an estimated fifty women and children were removed from the complex, including the wife of the captured mosque leader, Maulana Abdul Aziz.[2] Although troops cleared the ground floor, some of the mosque's defenders retreated into the basement, prolonging the standoff.[3] By the evening, military sources stated that the operation to gain control of the mosque was in its final stages and would continue throughout Tuesday night.[4]

Many conflicting reports swirled around the incident and it is difficult to determine the truth of these given the very sensitive political nature of the event; the actual number of casualties still cannot be verified independently.

Brigadier General Javed Iqbal Cheema of the Interior Ministry said the body of Abdul Rashid Ghazi had been found in the basement of the women's school after what was described as intense fighting. Reports said the cleric had been shot twice and failed to respond when called upon to surrender. At that point, commandos fired a final volley of shots at him. Other reports stated that militants refused to allow Mr Ghazi to surrender and that he was killed in crossfire.[5] The BBC reported that 75 bodies were found.[6] Far right political parties also claimed that the government was unable to prove the presence of any foreigners in the mosque and that it wrongly dubbed some locals as the foreigners.[7]


Following the week-long siege, the country entered a three-day mourning period. The bodies of those killed were buried in temporary graves, awaiting collection from family members. Hundreds of Abdul Rashid Ghazi's supporters attended his funeral in his Punjabi village, amid calls for Holy War.[8] This gave rise to fears of a violent backlash from fundamentalist quarters; the police and military were placed on high alert. Ayman al-Zawahiri, Al-Qaeda's second in command, released a message which included the sentence: "Your salvation is only through jihad", heightening tensions in the region.[9]

Speaking at a televised address Pervez Musharraf, said he was determined that extremism and terrorism would be eradicated in Pakistan. "Unfortunately we have been up against our own people [...] they had strayed from the right path and become susceptible to terrorism. [...] What do we as a nation want? What kind of Islam do these people represent? [...] In the garb of Islamic teaching they have been training for terrorism [...] they prepared the madrassa as a fortress for war and housed other terrorists in there. [...] I will not allow any madrassa to be used for extremism." Musharraf went on to say that those members of the military who died had given their blood for the country.[6]

Objections to the operation[edit]

Government opposition parties have accused the government of diverting attention from an ongoing judicial crisis in the Supreme Court of Pakistan, the Pakistan All-Parties Conference being held in London, and heavy losses due to floods in the country. However, the more troubling point of concern is the confusion over the number of casualties as the government's official toll of 90 is in doubt.

Reconciliation process[edit]

Pro-Musharraf Party Pakistan Muslim League (Q) and one opposition party of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam JUI (F) are trying their best for reconciliation and in a recent and very silent move, the Government of Pakistan has appointed Moulana Aamir Sadeeq, the nephew of Gazi Abdul Rasheed, as the New Imam (Prayer Leader) and Khateeb of Lal Masjid. This comes in from a meeting of leaders of PML-Q, Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman of JUI (F) with Moulana Abdul Aziz, the former Khateeb of Lal Masjid.[citation needed]

July 2008 bombing near Lal Masjid[edit]

On July 6, 2008, at 7:50 PM local time, a bomb exploded near Lal Masjid killing 18 policemen and 1 civilian. A Pakistani official claims the bombing occurred on the first anniversary of the siege and was a revenge attack. The attack occurred even amidst tight security in Islamabad, where thousands of Islamic students in Pakistan came to mark the day when Pakistani troops stormed Lal Masjid.[10] The blast was the work of a suicide bomber around 30 years of age.[11] Advisor to the Prime Minister on Interior Rehman Malik, who visited the blast site, said about 12,000 students attended the rally and the attack was directed at the police.[12]

In the same month, the Urdu-language newspaper Aajkal published a cartoon satirizing the wife of Abdul Aziz Ghazi, Umme Hassaan, who ran the mosque's girls' education center. The cartoon depicted her encouraging young women in burqas to "kidnap Chinese masseuses". On July 11, Lal Masjid clerics held a protest against the paper and its editor-in-chief, Najam Sethi, declaring it to be the equivalent of the Jyllands-Posten controversy, in which a Danish newspaper published cartoons negatively depicting Muhammad. Following subsequent death threats against Sethi, the Pakistani government put him under police protection.[13][14]

Support for the ISIS[edit]

On November 29, 2014 the students of Jamia Hafsa, an extremist all girls seminary connected to the Lal Masjid, made and circulated a video in support of ISIS and Baghdadi besides asking the Pakistani militants to join hands with IS fighters. On 12 December, a high ranking cleric of the mosque was detained and questioned about the video. Instead of disowning the video, the extremist Imam of the mosque Abdul Aziz Ghazi said, "I don’t know why these boys are reluctant to say that we support the organization which wants to implement Islamic system".[15]


  1. ^ "Profile: Islamabad's Red Mosque". BBC. July 3, 2007. Retrieved January 5, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Wife of captured mosque leader Maulana Abdul Aziz rescued". BBC News. July 10, 2007. Event occurs at 20:40 GMT 21:40 UK. Retrieved January 5, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Pakistani soldiers storm mosque". BBC. July 10, 2007. Event occurs at 09:44 GMT 10:44 UK. Retrieved January 5, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Siege Update". BBC News. July 10, 2007. Event occurs at 20:40 GMT 21:40 UK. Retrieved January 5, 2010. 
  5. ^ Buncombe, Andrew (July 11, 2007). "Rebel cleric and followers killed as Pakistani police storm mosque". The Independent. 
  6. ^ a b "Musharraf vows war on militants". BBC. July 12, 2007. Event occurs at 16:19 GMT 17:19 UK. Retrieved January 5, 2010. 
  7. ^ "MMA president says locals were 'dubbed' foreigners in Lal Masjid". Zee News. Zee Media Corporation Ltd. 15 July 2007. Retrieved 28 February 2014. 
  8. ^ "Pakistan buries Red Mosque dead". BBC. July 12, 2007. Event occurs at 09:25 GMT. Retrieved January 5, 2010. 
  9. ^ "Al-Qaeda issues Pakistan threat". BBC. July 11, 2007. Event occurs at 21:05 GMT. Retrieved January 5, 2010. 
  10. ^ Jacinto, Leela (July 6, 2008). "Blast near Islamabad's Red Mosque kills dozens". www.france24.com. Retrieved July 6, 2008. 
  11. ^ Press Trust Of India (July 7, 2008). "Pak terror reminder: 18 dead in Lal Masjid blast". www.ibnlive.com. Retrieved July 6, 2008. 
  12. ^ "Suicide blast targeting police kills 16 at Pakistan rally". www.cnn.com. July 6, 2008. Retrieved July 6, 2008. 
  13. ^ "Red mist". The Economist.  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). July 26, 2008. Retrieved September 7, 2012. 
  14. ^ "Najam Sethi receives death threat from Pak militants for publishing cartoon". Hindustan Times.  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). July 26, 2008. Retrieved September 7, 2012. 
  15. ^ http://tribune.com.pk/story/806711/no-regret-over-supporting-is-says-lal-masjid-cleric/

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°42′46.12″N 73°05′13.33″E / 33.7128111°N 73.0870361°E / 33.7128111; 73.0870361

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lal_Masjid — Please support Wikipedia.
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The Nation

The Nation
Fri, 27 Mar 2015 19:03:45 -0700

On Friday, a local court in Islamabad issued bailable arrest warrants for former dictator Pervez Musharraf in the murder case of Abdul Rashid Ghazi and his wife during the Lal Masjid operation in 2007. Most likely, Musharraf will neither be arrested ...

The Indian Express

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Tue, 10 Mar 2015 05:15:38 -0700

A court today issued a bailable arrest warrant against former Pakistani military ruler Pervez Musharraf for continuously staying away from the hearing in the murder case of Lal Masjid cleric Ghazi Abdul Rasheed. Additional Sessions Judge Wajid Ali Khan ...

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Kasmir Monitor
Wed, 25 Mar 2015 20:33:45 -0700

ISLAMABAD: Lal Masjid cleric Abdul Aziz may not have submitted a written apology to Islamabad police, as suggested by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, but he has submitted a 'surety letter' that he was bound to submit nearly 12 years ago ...

The Express Tribune

The Express Tribune
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 13:19:35 -0800

ISLAMABAD: The police on Friday booked the naib khateeb of Lal Masjid for misusing the loudspeaker during Friday's sermon, said a police official. The Aabpara police registered a case against Amir Siddique under the Amplifier Act. This is the second ...

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dunyanews.tv (press release) (blog)
Fri, 06 Mar 2015 03:26:15 -0800

Dr Fiaz was targeted a couple days earlier; workers of ASWJ therefore staged a protest outside Lal Masjid in Islamabad today, after Jumma prayer and chanted slogans. Protestors marched towards Parliament House but the police hampered them from ...

The Nation

Wed, 04 Mar 2015 01:00:00 -0800

The move comes as part of a crackdown against hate material being distributed by seminaries. Sukhera told the Senate panel that the police is conducting further investigation into other seminaries affiliated with Lal Masjid in Rahimyar Khan, Rajanpur ...

Pakistan Today

Pakistan Today
Sun, 04 Jan 2015 01:14:18 -0800

Security agencies have warned the government that the resurgence of Lal Masjid cleric Abdul Aziz poses a security threat to the law and order situation in the capital due to his links with known militant groups, a report in the local media said on Sunday.
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 17:34:12 -0800

TAXILA: Preliminary investigation has revealed that Kosar Ali, the suicide bomber who blew himself up at a police picket in Wah on Tuesday, had been a student at the seminary in Lal Masjid. Police and other law enforcement agencies picked up seven ...

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