Lal Masjid: A History of Pakistan

Since 2001, the Pak-Afghan border, particularly the Waziristan region, has developed into a stronghold for al-Qaeda and its affiliates. Between 2003 and 2014, Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, his deputy, also resided here. The Pakistani military began its first military campaign in Waziristan the same year. The military obliterated the al-Qaeda training facilities. Al-Qaeda created a risky strategy for Pakistan in response. The plot was developed by a professor who had ties to the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Al-Sadat. He was imprisoned in Egypt as well for this offence.

Sheikh Issa Al-Masri was in this. He had backed Osama bin Laden throughout the 1980s Soviet-Afghan war. He had been educating people in Yemen about Islam ever since, in 1990. He grew close to Osama bin Laden after the Afghan jihad. He also joined the Central Shura or Council of Al Qaeda. Al-Qaeda made the decision to introduce him in Pakistan in 2003. Within Pakistan, he had a big plan to carry out. What was this grand scheme? What role did Lal Masjid play in the overall scheme? You are watching a history of Pakistan series, and I’m Faisal Warraich.

We’ll demonstrate everything to you in this episode. President Ayub Khan gave the order to build a mosque in Islamabad 20 years before the Faisal Mosque. At this time, Islamabad was replacing Karachi as the nation’s capital. And Islamabad was under construction as a result. Between the existing parliament building and Lal Masjid, there were no structures. The Margalla Hills were in the distance, and all that was present were bushes. General Ayub Khan requested that Allama Yusuf Banuri of Jamia Banuria in Karachi act as the mosque’s prayer leader.

A young man named Maulana Abdullah Ghazi was sent to Lal Masjid by Allama Yusuf Banuri. Ghazi lived in the Rojhan Tehsil in Punjab’s Rajanpur District. Mufti Mahmood, the father of Maulana Fazlur Rehman, was a teacher of Maulana Abdullah Ghazi. In 1965, Maulana Abdullah Ghazi took over as the Lal Mosque’s prayer leader. Lal Masjid was once much smaller than it is today. But despite being smaller, it had a much greater significance. The political and military elite of the capital city flocked to that mosque to pray.

While their kids studied the Quran in the mosque, they listened to the Friday sermons here. Maulana Ghazi made connections with the government figures in this way. His standing and authority grew at this point. Lal Masjid’s location also boosted its power. Lal Masjid is around 1.5 kilometres from the office of Pakistan’s main spy organisation, ISI. Within a few kilometres of Lal Masjid are the buildings for the Parliament and the Foreign Ministry. The mosque is also close to a diplomatic enclave.

Lal Masjid now has a unique strategic value as a result of its position. Lal Masjid was finished in 1986, 20 years after the construction of Islamabad’s famous Faisal Mosque. However, Lal Masjid has more political power than Faisal Mosque. As a result, the Pakistani establishment made good use of Lal Masjid’s strategic position and influence. A political movement to remove Z.A. Bhutto as prime minister was started in 1977. The name of this movement was “Nizam-e-Mustafa.” The Lal Masjid and Maulana Abdullah Ghazi were crucial to the movement’s success. Nizam-e-Mustafa was not introduced into the nation by this movement. Instead, it brought martial law under General Zia-ul-Haq.

To support his regime, General Zia-ul-Haq required allies. One of his key advisors was Maulana Abdullah Ghazi of the Lal Masjid. He received funding from General Zia-ul-Haq, who also increased the mosque’s size. Before Zia assumed power, two seminaries—Jamia Hafsa for ladies and Jamia Faridiya for boys—had already been constructed. The Zia-ul-Haq era saw major upgrades to them. Maulana Abdullah Ghazi was also chosen by General Zia-ul-Haq to lead the Ruet-e-Hilal Committee. In Pakistan, this article has both religious and political authority.

The jihad against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan immediately took off from Lal Masjid. The fact that the United States and Saudi Arabia contributed $10 billion to the Afghan Jihad is now a well-known fact. Muslim youth from all over the world were recruited to fight for Islam in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union during this conflict. Prior to departing for Afghanistan, these young combatants frequently resided at Lal Masjid or in University Town in Peshawar. Authorities at Lal Masjid had developed solid relationships with jihadi networks all across the world in this fashion.

Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, as well as other prominent Taliban figures, attended Lal Masjid while they were Afghan Mujahideen. Additionally, Maulana Abdullah Ghazi was a realist. He personally joined the Soviet-era Jihad in Afghanistan. Ghazi made a couple trips to Afghanistan to see Osama Bin Laden even after the Soviets left. In 1998, he travelled to Afghanistan with his son Abdul Rashid. Father and son both landed in the Balochistan-bordering province of Qandhar. Leaders of al-Qaeda and the Taliban were meeting here.

Abdul Rashid Ghazi sipped water from Osama’s glass during a meeting. What are you doing, Osama bin Laden enquired? I want to be a mujahid like you, Ghazi Abdul Rashid said in response. Osama allegedly offered Maulana Ghazi a significant message at this meeting. This lesson had to be communicated, either by Maulna Ghazi in his Friday sermon or perhaps by someone else. They eventually left and resumed their regular activities. One day, Maulana Ghazi was travelling from Jamia Faridiya back to his house. At the front door of his home, a young man interrupted him.

After greeting him and shaking hands, he took out a handgun and shot the man multiple times in the chest. Umme Hassan, the wife of Maulana Abdul Aziz, his daughter-in-law, witnessed this action firsthand. She then admitted to the Judicial Commission that although she chased the attacker, he managed to flee in a white automobile. Ghazi was assassinated, in Umme Hassan’s opinion, because he brought certain messages from Osama bin Laden. He had been requested to keep these messages a secret by Pakistani intelligence. However, Osama bin Laden’s message was made public by Maulana Ghazi during his Friday sermon at Lal Masjid.

His daughter-in-law claims that the police failed to file a formal complaint on Maulana Ghazi’s death. Abdul Rashid Ghazi, Maulana’s son, was also supposedly taken by intelligence after his father was killed. Many Pakistanis also thought Maulana Ghazi had been killed by a Shia militant group. In his talks, Maulana Abdullah Ghazi frequently lambasted Shia scholars. It is no secret that Pakistan suffered as a result of the Saudi Arabia-Iran proxy conflict in the 1980s and 1990s. In sectarian strife, thousands of Pakistanis were sacrificing their valuable lives at the hands of one another.

Both Iran and Saudi Arabia supported their own proxies in this conflict. Maulana Abdullah Ghazi was also regarded as a Saudi Arabia supporter. Because of this, several people assumed his murder had a sectarian motive. But no one was found guilty for his slaying, and the case is still open today. In accordance with his wishes, Ghazi’s eldest son Maulana Abdul Aziz took over as Lal Masjid’s imam. Maulana Abdul Rashid Ghazi, his younger son, had previously shied away from religious concerns. He left his position at UNESCO and began participating in his brother’s religious obligations.

The late Saleem Shehzad claimed that the Ghazi brothers dispatched young men to Kashmir to engage in jihad. Then the tragedy of 9/11 happened. Relations between the Lal Masjid administration and the Pakistani establishment were put at risk by the 9/11 tragedy. The United States attacked the Afghanistan under the Taliban on October 7, 2001. Operation Enduring Freedom was the name of the strike, and the “War Against Terror” was the name of the conflict. Pakistan became a front-line ally in this so-called War Against Terror under the direction of General Musharraf. Lal Masjid disagreed with Pakistan’s new stance.

A conflict between Pakistan and the former Mujahideen had begun. These individuals were all connected to Lal Masjid. They have been in contact with Lal Masjid for about 20 years. Lal Masjid had been supplying fresh jihadist recruits. All of this was accomplished with full American support. The Ghazi brothers therefore objected when the Pakistani administration modified its policy toward Jihadis. They initially started a campaign named “defend of Afghaistan.” However, Pakistan’s military campaign in Wana, South Waziristan, posed the main difficulty.

In Pakistan’s tribal areas, numerous Al Qaeda and Taliban commanders had sought refuge. When Pakistan attempted to detain them, they began detonating bombs throughout the nation. Additionally, suicide bombers twice attempted to attack President General Musharraf. Even though he lived, these attacks resulted in the loss of many priceless lives. Pakistan was under pressure from the international community to start an operation against the Taliban and Al Qaeda. So, in 2004, the Pakistani army began operations in Wana. The Lal Masjid and the Establishment’s cordial relationship was broken by this operation.

This circumstance served as a strong point for Al Qaeda. To deliver a crucial message to Maulana Abdul Aziz at the Lal Masjid, Osama bin Laden dispatched a significant Al Qaeda figure. What message did it convey? The message was delivered to Maulana Abdul Aziz in the mosque. In order to condemn the Wana operation, Osama bin Laden had requested that Maulana Abdul Aziz issue a fatwa (decree). Maulana Abdul Aziz thereupon issued this fatwa. According to the Fatwa, Muslim cemeteries should not be used for the burial of Pakistani soldiers who died while battling the Taliban and Al Qaeda. According to the fatwa, these warriors were not worthy of funeral prayers or the title of martyr.

500 other experts endorsed the fatwa, which was distributed throughout Pakistan. This fatwa was an outright insurrection against the government. Al-Qaeda intended to take advantage of the Pakistani soldiers’ religious sensibilities by issuing this fatwa. The army might have suffered as a result. Al Qaeda was pleased with the fatwa. Many non-commissioned officers in the security services disobeyed orders, according to late journalist Saleem Shehzad. A large number of them quit their jobs. Additionally, the army reassigned a lot of officers due to their religious preferences.

Several officers also faced court-martials. However, there was no way to take rigorous action against the terrorists due to political unrest and widespread support for the terrorists. The leadership of Pakistan’s opposition lived abroad. The result was political unrest in the nation. To weaken the opposition, General Musharraf founded PML-Q. Due to its strong religious base, this party was hesitant to back the military operation. Religious organisations like the JUI-F and Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan opposed the operation as well. Even PTI leader Imran Khan was against the operation.

General Musharraf made an unexpected choice as a result. He reached a settlement with the Waziristan insurgents. The peace agreement’s guaranteers were tribal elders and a nearby Jirgah. The Miranshah Agreement or Waziristan Agreement is this 8-page document. The agreement’s terms were detailed on four pages. The final four pages have both sides’ signatures on them. You are seeing a genuine copy of the Miranshah pact. According to the deal, all foreign militants would leave the region. Those that couldn’t escape would provide the authorities with their bio information.

However, everyone who was detained during the operation would be freed. The weapons of those who were freed would also be returned by the authorities. The militants who have been freed will not have any cases filed against them for previous crimes. Pakistan would halt its military activities. In Waziristan, all disagreements would be settled in accordance with local customs. However, both the security services and the militants were aware that the deal was only a short-term solution. After the deal was reached, both parties may reorganise. The militants therefore fully benefited from the arrangement.

The foreign militants remained in the region. Even so, there was no registration procedure for these foreigners. On the other hand, recruitment for al-Qaeda and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) accelerated quickly. Activists from numerous Pakistani banned organisations repeated his message. Ilyas Kashmiri, the founder of the Islamic Jihad movement, joined al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and was committed to jihadist efforts there. In 2007, he also joined the Al Qaeda Council. Following the agreement, Waziristan became the site of training camps for Al Qaeda, TTP, and IMU.

They were getting ready for a protracted struggle. To bolster their defences, they excavated extensive tunnels that were both deep and long. In underground caverns, they also kept massive arsenals. To brainwash juvenile suicide bombers, rooms were furnished with paintings of landscapes and posters of attractive ladies. Ironically, some posters featured actresses from India. President Musharraf was alerted by the CIA and Pakistani intelligence that the situation was out of control. because more and more people were fighting every day. In South and North Waziristan, more than 50,000 terrorists had collected by 2007.

The Pakistani government was no longer in control of this situation. The Islamic Emirate of Waziristan was the name of the state created in the area by TTP’s founder Baitullah Mehsud. To operate his new state, Al Qaeda lent him millions of cash. Waziristan was also the location of Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and IMU leader Qari Tahir. Action against these extremists was desired by the United States and Pakistani intelligence. They wished for the insurgents to fail in Pakistan. Lists of Al Qaeda resources in Pakistan were provided to the government by the CIA and ISI. What precisely were these assets?

What did Sheikh Issa, a member of Al Qaeda in Egypt, demand of the Ghazi brothers? Why did the Al Qaeda member meet Hafiz Saeed, Dr. Israr Ahmed, and Qazi Hussain Ahmed? All of this will be demonstrated in the upcoming episode. To view the upcoming episode, tap here. See how the Muslims established their control over Spain here. Here is the illustrious tale of Nawab Siraj-ud-Daulah and Mir Jafar.Contact Us

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