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Last Updated: Saturday, 7 April 2007, 14:51 GMT 15:51 UK
Pakistan to act on cleric threat
Supporters of Maulana Aziz
The activities of Mr Aziz's followers has outraged human rights groups
Pakistan's government has told the BBC it will take action against the head of a radical mosque in Islamabad, following comments he made on Friday.

Maulana Abdul Aziz said he was ready to set up an Islamic court to stop "vulgar activity" and warned of suicide attacks if the state acted against the mosque.

A government official said restraint would be used to deal with the matter, to avoid "a law and order situation".

He said negotiations were under way to stop a repeat of the "silly remarks".

What is being said is totally against the basic tenets of Islam
Minister of State for Information Tariq Azeem

The government is facing calls to clamp down on students in two madrassas attached to the mosque, whom human rights groups say are "terrorising ordinary citizens in the name of Islam".

If the government does take action, "our last resort will be suicide bombings", Mr Aziz declared to thousands of followers during Friday prayers.

He also demanded that the government close down Islamabad's video shops and brothels within one month.

'Peaceful means'

Pakistan's Minister of State for Information, Tariq Azeem, told the BBC: "I can assure you that if we fail in persuading the students to vacate a building which has been occupied by them illegally, or to stop these people making silly remarks, then action will be taken against people.

Supporters of Maulana Aziz burn videos and CDs
Supporters of Maulana Aziz burn videos and CDs

"Hopefully we can do that without causing a law and order situation."

The minister said the actions of the radicals went against Islam.

"What is being said is totally against the basic tenets of Islam. It is of course unlawful, illegal to call for people to sacrifice their lives to support what is obviously a very political cause.

"It is also un-Islamic. Most Islamic scholars in Pakistan have already condemned it," he said.

The activities of Mr Aziz's followers in the capital have caused outrage among human rights activists.

Last week female students from a madrassa that is part of Mr Aziz's Lal Masjid (red mosque) complex abducted a woman they accused of running a brothel, holding her captive for two days.

Some of the students are also staging an armed occupation of a children's library in the capital.

The mosque 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.


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