Would they have arrested Maulana Abdul Aziz had he been a Virat Kohli fan?

Published: February 5, 2016

Instead of trying to find the government’s attention through petitions and social media etc, maybe all the activist has to do is hoist a picture of Virat Kohli on the good Maulana’s home.

Al Jazeera claims he is possibly the most hated man in Pakistan. Maulana Mohammad Abdul Aziz; a fiery cleric; said to be the torchbearer of sprawling madrassas, 5000 pupils and 550 teachers strong; co-owner of the militia powered seminary Jamia Hafsa; accused of using religion to serve his politics; allegedly a sympathiser of notorious organisations such as Al-Qaeda, Pakistan Taliban and ISIS.

In the late 00s, his Lal Masjid disciples began frighteningly violent acts of arson, vandalism, and kidnapping. In response, security forces hit back with a military operation. Scores died. Eventually, Maulana Mohammad Abdul Aziz became the subject of a meme when he tried to escape wearing a burqa.

In 2014, female students from his madrassa pledged allegiance to ISIS in a video. Responding to criticism, Maulana Mohammad Abdul Aziz said,

“These girls did it on their own. They did it for the love of their religion, so I cannot condemn it. Our leaders have fooled us for 64 years. They told us that they will bring an Islamic system. No one was honest about it. If you are not going to do it and someone else will, then of course it will catch attention.”

He followed this with a defence of the terrorist organisation,

“You are seeing videos of violent acts committed by the Islamic State but not the videos of violence committed by the other side.”

But much about the Maulana is still shrouded in mystery. Al Jazeera says the cost of his madrassas runs up to Rs15 million per month. Who are these private donors, funding his hard-line values?

Today, the government of Pakistan is openly mocked by opposing politicians and TV journalists for not arresting the preacher, even though he has two FIRs filed against him.

Activist and lawyer, Jibran Nasir, has led the fight, asking the authorities to transparently explain why the Maulana walks free.

In an open petition, Nasir makes an appeal to Federal Interior Minister, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan. According to the FIRs, the charges against the Maulana are serious. They can be examined in detail, here.

By contrast, Umar Draz, a passionate fan of Indian cricketer Virat Kohli, was immediately placed in custody for raising an Indian flag and a picture of his hero on his home, after being overwhelmed by an incredible batting display by the flashy player.

Admittedly, Draz’s actions were perhaps ill advised considering Pakistan’s relationship with India. In India, fans of Pakistan have been similarly reprimanded for open displays of support for their bordering nation. But surely, at worst, the naïve tailor from Punjab deserved a slap on the wrists. Instead he faces 10 years in prison for merely supporting his favourite cricketer while a man alleged to have consistently committed treason against the state still awaits his day in court.

I suppose Draz and the Maulana have something in common. Draz’s idol blasts fast bowlers on the cricket field. The Maulana’s idols… well, let’s not get into that.

In his open letter to Chaudhry Nisar, Jibran Nasir laments,

“We trust that you and your office will keep the interest of Pakistan and the spirit of the National Action Plan, which you claim to have conceived yourself, foremost and will not compromise on the enforcement of law to establish the writ of State with the most politically significant city of Pakistan, our Capital, Islamabad. We hope no criminal and/or terrorists will be allowed to terrorise the state of Pakistan and make a mockery of our National Security, especially under your tenure.”

Perhaps Jibran Nasir is going about this the wrong way. Maybe he doesn’t have the proper bait to catch this fish. Instead of trying to find the government’s attention through videos on social media, interviews on television, blogs, and petitions in court and online, maybe all the activist has to do is hoist a picture of Virat Kohli on the good Maulana’s home.

I can imagine it now:

Jibran Nasir,

“He has links to Al Qaeda, ISIS, and the Taliban!”

Chaudhry Nisar,


Jibran Nasir,

“He has preached violence against citizens of Pakistan! On his behest, Taliban Commander Ehsanullah Ehsan terrorised and threatened Pakistanis! He spreads hatred against the Pakistani army as well as minorities in the country.”

Chaudhry Nisar,


Jibran Nasir,

“Oh no! Look, he is a Virat Kohli fan!”

Chaudhry Nisar,

“My god!”

Do you think Maulana Abdul Aziz should be arrested?

     View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Noman Ansari

Noman Ansari

The author is the editor-in-chief of IGN Pakistan, and has been reviewing films and writing opinion pieces for The Express Tribune as well as Dawn for five years. He tweets as @Pugnate (twitter.com/Pugnate)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Sami

    Mr Noman Ansari it is easy to comment while sitting in Karachi. Have you ever lived in border regions of Punjab facing India?.
    The guy who was arrested lived in a region that is not so far away from the Indian border zones. Hoisting Indian flags in this region is a clear provocation of many sorts. It is just hoisting Pakistani flags in Indian Punjab’s border cities. Will Indian Army tolerate that when they will see any Pakistani flag no matter in Rajhastan, Indian Punjab or any Border region of India?. Police did not arrested him for being a Kohli fan, but he was arrested for hoisting Indian flag outside of his premises.
    It was a simple provocation and the police acted accordingly. .

    Kindly do not compare that incident with Maulana Abdul Aziz. This guy got local sympathies thanks to the Musharraf led operation in Islamabad. Many people got killed in that attack. So now the government will never repeat the same mistake. So they are tolerating him as many people do support him.

    By the way Secular demand the Freedom Of Expression and Speech. But here if someone do not agree with their ideologies then the same Freedom should be curtailed. Double standards to say the least.Recommend

  • Bairooni Haath

    Unbelievable, Pakistan persecuting someone who is just trying to be good Muslim.Recommend

  • Keyboard Soldier

    Wahhabism is integrated into the top circles of the government and the establishment.
    Of course he would never be arrested.Recommend

  • Alter Ego

    A flag is a symbol of pride for a country.It represents our ideals, our history , our heroes and our beliefs.There is a reason flags are taken down at sundown so its respect is not diminished.
    You have had three wars with India and you proudly raise Indian flag in Pakistan.
    Indian army wanted to do that in Bagh-e-Jinnah,they weren’t able to, our army pushed them back.
    This foolish man thinks his freedom of expression extends to raising flag of a country that has systematically and with extreme prejudice persecuted Muslims.
    You live in Pakistan , you use her resources , you eat her food , you drink her water , you drive on her roads , you owe her your loyalty.
    Would Indians have been so forgiving if some idiot had raised Pakistani flag on his house in India?Arrest would have been the least of his worries given Indian’s fondness for mob lynching.Recommend

  • Noman Ansari

    You do realize that threats do not fall under freedom of speech? Or do you think the law will protect you if you threaten your neighbor? Get real. Recommend

  • Hameed

    Freedom of Speech doesn’t incorporate hate speech and incitement to violence. Period. All those who criticize secularists for this point should at least understand what free speech is.Recommend

  • Saad Salman Zia

    Being a good Muslim by inciting others to kill people he doesn’t agree with? I find that very ‘unbelievable’. This mindset is a plague.Recommend

  • Mahmud Majeed

    Mr Aziz is law breaker of the state. His brand of Islam is different from the Real teachings of Islam. Where is violence in Islam? Prophet of Islam taught tolerance and love while Mr Aziz preaches hatred and violence. How rebellion and mischief were crushed forcefully during the Islamic era.Mr Aziz should be dealt with according to Islamic teachings or according to the law of the land.Recommend

  • Fahim

    Maulvi Abdul Aziz is not alone, ASWJ leader Ludhianvi once openly threatened the govt. of Pakistan in last PPPP era to launch a campaign like the reaction of lal-masjid if the madrassas continued to be raided.Recommend

  • Ali

    Yeah i am fully convinced your a non muslim commentator. Im praying to Allah you are. Recommend

  • Ali

    No, interpretations of islam that contradict pakistan’s constitution should be ilegal. More to the point, you labelling others as “secular” for opposing fundamentalists is just further proof of how unvilized Pakistan really is. Recommend

  • Parvez

    Funny, sad and true.
    Just a few minutes ago I was shown a new video on the net in which Abdul Aziz is apologizing, yes apologizing for what ever wrong he may have said and claims that this is what the sharia has ordained. The dexterity with which he uses the sharia to cover his wrongs, now that he is being pushed up against the wall, in my opinion only magnifies his guilt and shows him up for what he really is .Recommend

  • maujood

    I’m very interested in hearing opinions from the 12% who voted “no”.Recommend

  • Gullu, Guddu and Somnath

    Just because the author of the blog is “sitting in Karachi” impedes
    his ability to make any judgement about the Mullah? Or Umar Draz?
    You have to live in Punjab, to voice an opinion on Mullah and Draz?
    The Mullah’s history is common knowledge. All over the world. So is
    the ridiculous dilemma of Draz. The tailor did a simple provocation.
    The Mullah wants to topple the govt. and he supports banned outfits,
    including ISIS.
    And what is this about “border regions facing India” ? Do every man
    woman and child in the ‘forward facing region’ walks around with an
    AK-47? Armed and ready to defend the ‘Land of the Pure’. Imagine a
    5 year old grim faced toddler dragging a rifle. ‘gonna go defend muh
    country, just gimme bullets’ All those farmers and the ‘dehati aurats’
    repeating the mantra ‘any day now, them Indians be coming, yup, they
    is coming. Done gone be ready fer them.’
    The many ‘people’ who support this mullah includes YOU. It’s very obvious.
    Seems like the Sharif cabal does not have a clue about what to do.

  • Dipak Mehta

    The Maulvi should be shot dead. You don’t need himRecommend

  • Dipak Mehta

    All good Muslims are dead. What is left are people like Raheel Sharif.Recommend

  • umar
  • Ramchand

    Like you being a good Hindu?Recommend

  • Alter Ego

    Neither does raising Indian flag fall under the freedom of speech.
    I noticed you did not reply to my comment above.
    As for what would have happened
    “if Maulana Abdul Aziz had he been a Virat Kohli fan?”
    Many research papers can be wriiten on the “if” subject using advanced theories of stats ,probabilty and alternate dimensions.
    The point is that you have to respect the country in which you live.Recommend

  • Linux Novice

    Why there is a shortage of patriotic people that this abrasion on humanity is still roaming earth?!Recommend

  • Rex Minor

    The author Norman Ansari writes;

    In the late 00s, his Lal Masjid disciples began frighteningly violent acts of arson, vandalism, and kidnapping. In response, security forces hit back with a military operation. Scores died. of God

    what a shmeful description of the military attack on the house of God which caused destruction and heavy human casualt of Gy and for this action the Indian born former military General has been indicted and is asking for forgiveness from the muslim theoligist and Imam of the Lal Masgid. Only a genuine believer would know and appreciate the sanctity of the house of God.

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • Nomad1412

    I am sure they will talk of freedom of expression.Recommend

  • Patwari

    Relax. Recommend

  • Motiwala

    Wow! What a revelation! “Indian born general” Now THAT is racist
    and bigoted. Indian born cannot be generals? This,…coming from
    a pseudo Afghan Tajik in Germany, via Vakhan Corridor, through
    North Waziristan [FATA] and Karachi. You should be thankful that
    Pakistan allows 4 millions of you and yours to stay. There is a No Visa
    for Afghans policy in Hindu Desh. Maybe ya’ll can shift there? Soon?Recommend

  • Noman Ansari

    “I noticed you did not reply to my comment above.”

    At first I mistook your comment as clever satire. You do realize I was being sarcastic right. I am not actually saying they should hoist Indian flags on the maualana’s home.Recommend

  • Noman Ansari

    … seriously dude look up sarcasm. Please stop taking everything so literally.Recommend

  • Bilal

    No they wouldn’t have, as he didn’t hoist an indian flag high in the air at his house. But I agree with overall what you have said as he is a criminal and should be arrested or even executed if found guilty of his crimes.Recommend

  • Patwari

    Comment was edited by Hindu loving moderators at ET.Recommend

  • rex minor

    Look for your lost one in the garrison townsRecommend

  • Mohsin

    should be arrested and hung.Recommend

  • numbersnumbers

    BTW, just WHO would dare fire on government troops and police from “the sanctity of the house of God”?????Recommend

  • Jayman

    Respects. You are so right bro. Just one verse is enough (Tabari 7:97) to prove your above comment. People don’t even understand what He stood for.Recommend

  • Rex Minor

    The Government has not the right to sorround and lay siege to the house ofa God; wicked are those who undertake such missions and it is they who will be held to account in this as well as next world!

    Rex MinorRecommend