Pakistan's Red Mosque reopens after court order

( AFP ) - Pakistan's Red Mosque reopened on Wednesday nearly three months after a bloody military raid, with its deposed head urging thousands of supporters to continue his struggle for Islamic sharia law.

Around 5,000 people packed the mosque in central Islamabad to hear a recorded message by radical cleric Abdul Aziz, who was captured in July while trying to flee the building while dressed in a woman's burqa.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the government to open the mosque, which had been closed since government forces besieged and stormed the mosque in July, killing more than 100 people.

"Our movement for enforcement of Sharia has been stained with our blood and it must continue," Aziz said in the message.

"The problems of this country can only be overcome with Islamic law."

Aziz -- whose brother, the hardline cleric Abdul Rashid Ghazi, was killed in the raid -- however called on the mosque's followers to remain peaceful as the mosque reopened for prayers.

His brother's family members attended the reopening.

Government troops stormed the radical mosque on July 10 after besieging Al-Qaeda militants holed up inside the building and a neighbouring girls' Islamic school.

It reopened briefly on July 27 but closed within hours after protesters reoccupied it and then a suicide blast targeting policemen near the complex killed 14 people.

But the Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the government to reopen it again after accepting a petition by Aziz's wife and others.

"The mosque is reopening today on the court's orders," Interior Ministry spokesman Brigadier Javed Cheema told AFP.

The leader of a hardline Islamic student movement that had campaigned for the mosque to reopen earlier said he had urged people not to cause trouble.

"We hope that police do not interfere and try to bully us, we will remain peaceful," Asif Dilawar Mahmood, the chief of Tehreek Tuleba-o-Talibat (Movement of Male and Female Students) told AFP.

"We are thankful to the Supreme Court for ordering the reopening."

The raid on the mosque sparked a wave of revenge suicide bombings and other attacks by Islamic extremists in Pakistan that have left nearly 300 people dead.

In a video released last month Al-Qaeda's deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahiri warned that President Pervez Musharraf Musharraf would be "punished" over the killing of Ghazi.

Number of people infected with coronavirus pandemic in Iran exceeds 1 million
Number of people infected with coronavirus pandemic in Iran exceeds 1 million
Iran to produce coronavirus vaccines in spring
Iran to produce coronavirus vaccines in spring
Iran reveals its COVID-19 data for December 2
Iran reveals its COVID-19 data for December 2
Loading Bars
Latest
UK coronavirus deaths top 60,000 as another 414 recorded
OPEC+ supports 0.5 mln bpd output growth since January, monthly meetings
Four killed in large blast in western England: local police
Kazakhstan's revenue from petroleum oil exports to Hungary surge
Georgian NCDC Head urges symptomatic citizens to undergo antigen test
Iran, Turkey call for increased economic coop.
Turkey grapples with COVID-19 surge in 3 cities amid vaccine hope
Kazakhstan's oil & gas company opens tender to buy spares
It is through coordinated, concerted global response based on unity, multilateral cooperation that international community can craft strategies to mitigate effects of COVID-19 - President Aliyev
Special Session of UN General Assembly is remarkable success for Member States of NAM - President Aliyev
Non-Aligned Movement praises activities of UN system in response to COVID-19 - President Aliyev
Throughout 2020 global community faced greatest health crisis in recent history - President Aliyev
Turkmenistan proposes to widen cooperation in the area of nature protection and climate change on the OSCE platform
Turkmenistan committed to humanitarian cooperation within the OSCE
Azerbaijan’s State Oil Company discloses amount of investments in Georgia's economy
Annual production volume from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz field to increase by 2023
Azerbaijani president delivers speech at special session of UN General Assembly (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Iran Chamber of Commerce discusses increase of interest rates
Azerbaijan changes rules for distribution of property
Georgia announces final results of parliamentary election
Special session of UN General Assembly on COVID-19 begins at Azerbaijani president’s initiative
OSCE MG Co-Chairs welcome cessation of activities in area of Karabakh conflict
Kazakhstan sees increase in registration of newly-purchased cars
Azerbaijani, Turkish FMs exchange views on meeting of OSCE Ministerial Council
Metallurgical plant built with Russia’s support to be launched in Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan Railways JSC to increase authorized capital
Russia hopes UNESCO mission to arrive soon in Nagorno-Karabakh region
Georgian state flour subsidy program to maintain stable prices for bread
Foreign trade grows between Russia’s Udmurtia, Turkmenistan
Uzbekistan’s Energy Ministry eyes studying Rothschild & Co experience in entering IPO
Azerbaijan raises cargo exports in value terms
National Bank of Georgia sells funds at foreign exchange auction to stabilize lari
Korean government donates glove boxes to Azerbaijan for COVID-19 examination (PHOTO)
Public to be provided with detailed information about martyrs - Azerbaijani MoD
Georgia continuing efforts to diversify production and promoting use of renewable energy
Number of projects to be implemented at Angren FEZ in Uzbekistan revealed
Prospects for expanding capabilities of Southern Gas Corridor discussed
Kazakhstan looking for co-op opportunities with Northern European countries despite COVID-19
Coronavirus adversely affects activities of Georgian JB Group
Uzbekistan, Turkey discuss creation of industrial zone in Tashkent
Productivity of Azerbaijani liberated lands to be assessed
Baku Metro opens tender to attract renovation, installation services
Ceyhan terminal’s oil transshipment from ACG exceeds 195 million barrels
OSCE potential in settlement of conflicts remains in demand – Russian FM
Crude oil shipments decrease at Kazakhstan's Marine Terminal of CPC
Karabakh agreement can positively influence Turkish-Armenian relations - Mevlut Cavusoglu
Azerbaijan records annual growth in lending to agricultural sector
Uzbek-Korean JV opens tender for gas purchase
Patriotic War Memorial Complex and Victory Museum to be established in Baku
Khazar Consortium opens tender for maintenance, repair of office equipment in Turkmenistan
We are entering new post-conflict stage of reconstruction, rehabilitation - Azerbaijani FM
President Ilham Aliyev signs order on commemoration of Patriotic War martyrs
SOCAR’s share in Azerbaijan’s natural gas output down
Anti-Azerbaijani efforts of Armenian diaspora and pro-Armenian forces fail
Georgia sees increase in public debt
Georgian restaurants ask for benefits and salary compensation
Lithuanian company talks on new payment device for Azerbaijani market
Georgian E-Space to attract partners for developing network of charging stations
SOCAR sees increase in proven gas and condensate reserves
Georgian bread company plans to expand its business
Iran's power production capacity increases
Employment in Iran's Kurdistan Province increases
Azerbaijan confirms 4,189 new COVID-19 cases, 2,072 recoveries
Azerbaijani banks' demand for foreign currency declines
Commandants appointed for liberated Lachin, Kalbajar districts of Azerbaijan
Turkish FM talks regional benefits of trilateral agreement on Karabakh
Bahar Azadi gold coin price again falling in Iran
Assets of Uzbek commercial banks increase over 10M2020
Greece extends nationwide lockdown by a week, to Dec. 14
Most of Azerbaijani goods' exports via Single Window system falls on air transportation
Number of enterprises launched in Iran's Qom Province up
Demand for Azerbaijani commercial banks grows year on year
SOCAR’s 2019 oil output exceeds forecasts
Date of Turkish president's visit to Azerbaijan disclosed
OSCE chairman-in-office welcomes cessation of hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh region
Defense Ministry discloses number of missing Azerbaijani servicemen and currently under medical treatment
Number of people infected with coronavirus pandemic in Iran exceeds 1 million
Turkmenistan cuts imports of cars from Turkey
Azerbaijan discloses number of its servicemen killed in second Karabakh war
Azerbaijan lowers cement imports from Turkey
Iran's trade turnover with some Central Asian countries revealed
Trilateral statement of Nov. 10 ends nearly 30-year occupation of Azerbaijani lands - FM
Growth pace of both lari and foreign currency deposits slows down in Georgia
Azerbaijan reveals latest data on exports and imports of finished textile products
Iran inaugurates new power projects
Association of electrotechnical enterprises to increase production in Uzbekistan
Iran declares amount of money paid to tea farmers
Kazakhstan discusses measures to improve national economy with UNDP
SOCAR’s proven oil reserves down y-o-y
Azerbaijan creates service post, appoints inspectors in liberated Sugovushan, Talish villages (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan to solemnly celebrate Victory Day every year on Nov. 8
Lari exchange rate and pandemic impact electricity tariffs in Georgia
Turkey's export to Turkic-speaking countries up
Expenses on construction of enterprises decline in Iran’s Qazvin province
Iran plans changes to law for citizens paying tax upon leaving country
Food products jump in price in Kazakhstan in Nov. 2020
Azerbaijan shows video footages from Husulu, Malibey villages of Lachin district (VIDEO)
Iran’s Wagon Pars Company discloses number of manufactured wagons
Azerbaijan records growth in life insurance market
Global Gas Centre can help promote Turkmen gas in Central Asia, Europe
All news