Pakistan judge issues arrest warrant for Abdul Aziz

media captionAbdul Aziz says the authorities should be looking at people who are accused of more serious crimes, reports Shaimaa Khalil

A judge in Pakistan has issued an arrest warrant for a cleric at a radical mosque in Islamabad who has refused to condemn the massacre of children at an army-run school.

Imam Abdul Aziz has been accused of threatening protesters outside the Red Mosque.

The cleric said the charge against him was insignificant.

Last week, Taliban fighters attacked the school in Peshawar, killing 152 people, including 133 children.

Mr Aziz said that the authorities should focus on arresting people accused of more serious crimes.

"My case is very small and even a sub-inspector can grant me bail," he said.

The BBC's Anbarasan Ethirajan says that Mr Aziz is well known for his pro-Taliban views.

Earlier this year, a school run by the cleric renamed its library in honour of the former al-Qaeda leader, Osama Bin Laden.

A spokesman for the Red Mosque said they would resist the arrest of Mr Aziz.

image copyrightReuters
image captionThe demonstrators who complained about Mr Aziz are being investigated for holding an unlawful protest

Civil society activists had lodged the complaint against Mr Aziz, saying that they had been threatened by mosque employees during a protest about his refusal to condemn the school massacre.

The demonstrators are also being investigated for holding an unlawful protest.

Pakistan has stepped up its anti-terror operations since the attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar on 16 December.

Earlier this week, the government announced new measures to tackle terrorism, including the establishment of military courts to hear terrorism-related cases.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Wednesday that there was a "changed Pakistan" since the tragedy and that there would be "no place for terrorism, extremism, sectarianism and intolerance."

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