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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 March 2007, 18:21 GMT 19:21 UK
Pakistan 'brothel woman' released
Jamia Hafsa students
The students want action against "immoral acts" in the capital
A woman seized and held captive by Pakistani religious students after being accused of running a brothel has been freed unharmed.

Two of her female relatives abducted by students from the Islamabad madrassa, were also freed, as were two policemen.

Before her release, the alleged brothel owner read a statement confessing she had committed immoral acts. She later said it had been made under duress.

Girls from the Jamia Hafsa madrassa say they have won a victory over liberals.

The BBC's Navdip Dhariwal in Islamabad says the local administration had bowed to the Taleban-style demands of the students.

She says the fear among liberal Pakistanis is that Islamic rule is becoming a force to be reckoned with in the capital.


The woman, known as "Aunty Shamim", made a statement before being released. She said she repented of her actions.

"Aunty Shamim", the alleged brothel owner
They dragged us off like animals to the madrassa
"Aunty Shamim"

She appeared to be under immense pressure as she spoke, our correspondent says.

"I apologise for my past wrongdoing and I promise in the name of God that in future I will live like a pious person," the woman said before reporters.

She renounced prostitution but she refused to admit she had been running a brothel.

She later said she had not made the statement of her own free will and accused the students of mistreating her.

"I don't think Islam allows anyone to beat a woman and drag her through the streets like a dog," the Associated Press news agency quoted her as saying.

She told the BBC's Urdu service about 30 women from the madrassa had abducted her, helped by a similar number of men.

"They tied me, my daughter and daughter-in-law and my six-month-old grand-daughter up with rope," she said.

She denied running a brothel but said she had rented a room to a woman, and could not be held responsible for anything she might have done.

The vice-principal of the school had given her three options, she said - that police register a case against her, that she face an Islamic court in the school, or that she repent of her sins.

'Moral policing'

Religious students from Jamia Hafsa raided the house on Tuesday night.

President Pervez Musharraf
President Musharraf has kept a hands-off policy on the issue

Later men from the madrassa kidnapped two policemen after the arrest of four teachers. The officers were freed earlier on Thursday.

Abdul Rashid Ghazi, Jamia Hafsa's administrator, had earlier said the school had no personal problem with the woman.

"We only want her to refrain from spreading obscenity in future," he said.

Jamia Hafsa and its adjoining madrassa, Jamia Faradia, are part of the Lal Masjid (red mosque) complex.

Lal Masjid has long been a problem for the capital city administration and Pakistan's President, General Pervez Musharraf.

It has often criticised his policies in the "war on terror" and called for Islamic law to be enforced in Pakistan.

The brothel incident comes amid concerns over the increasing "Talebanisation" of parts of Pakistan.

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