Pak radicals threaten national daily Aaj Kal for writing against extremism

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Islamabad, July 12 : The Lal Masjid clerics protested after Friday prayers against the editorial position of national Daily Aaj Kal which routinely writes against religious extremism and fanaticism in the country.

Raising clenched fists in front of TV cameras, the clerics condemned the editorial position of the paper, and pointed to the publication of a cartoon in Daily Aaj Kal which showed the leader of the women students of Lal Masjid, Umme Hassaan, in a burqa, educating female students to wage jihad and martyrdom.

The clerics chanted slogans and warned the editor-in-chief and publisher not to "test their patience".

Aamir Siddique, Naib Khateeb of Lal Masjid, addressed the protest demonstration after Friday prayers and said that their "movement"" cannot be stopped by any such propaganda.

He said those responsible for the bloodshed in Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa would have to pay the price, the Daily Times reported.

Meanwhile, Information and Broadcasting Minister Sherry Rehman strongly condemned the threatening phone calls and messages by extremist vigilantes to daily Aaj Kal in Islamabad and Lahore.

"The era of non-state actors trying to intimidate the public, the media and civil society has to be challenged now. This is a democratic government and we will not sit back and watch while attacks are aimed at our fundamental freedoms," she said.

Rehman said that threatening is an offence on two counts. Firstly, it is a direct challenge to the safety and security of the public and secondly, it is a threat against the freedom of the media - either way there is no room for such acts in a democratic order, the minister said.

Sherry assured the publication that the government would provide complete protection to their offices in Islamabad.

ANI

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