Pakistan issues warrant for hardline cleric, who refuses to condemn the Peshawar massacre

A PAKISTANI court yesterday issued an arrest warrant for a hardline Islamic cleric who suggested the massacre of schoolchildren in country’s worst terror attack was understandable, after he allegedly threatened people criticising him.

Maulana Abdul Aziz, the pro-Taliban cleric and head of the Red Mosque in the capital Islamabad, has been accused of threatening civil society activists, who last week staged several demonstrations outside the mosque, a police official and a spokesman for the mosque told AFP.

The protests were staged to denounce Mr Aziz, who refused to condemn the massacre on a television talk-show.

Later Mr Aziz effectively told worshippers the attack in Peshawar, which left around 150 people dead — mainly children, was a justifiable reaction to the army’s “un-Islamic” operation against militants in the North Waziristan tribal district.

“O rulers, O people in power, if you will commit such acts, there will be a reaction,” he told worshippers in a sermon recently, prompting further protests accusing him of being a Taliban sympathizer…