The radical cleric building a militia in the heart of Islamabad, Pakistan

Maulana Abdul Aziz is at the right in this photo of Pakistani Islamoloons leading an attempt to negotiate with the Taliban, February 2014. An effort which, predictably, failed. Source.

He is one of the most dangerous men in Pakistan and is supposed to bein police detention.

Instead, as several thousand hardline Muslim worshippers knelt in prayer at the Red Mosque in the heart of Islamabad, the voice of Maulana Abdul Aziz called out over them defiantly.

Seven years ago, the radical cleric led heavily armed al-Qaeda gunmen in a bloody siege at the Red Mosque, or Lal Masjid in Urdu, which left more than a hundred children, soldiers and militants dead.

The brutal denouement, including the killing of his brother and son, set off a wave of Taliban suicide bombings which struck at the heart of Pakistan’s military establishment.

Now Pakistan’s intelligence services believe he is building a new militia, grabbing land for more madrassas and preparing for another tilt at forcing the country to adopt strict Islamic law. Eyewitnesses said they had seen 30 to 40 heavily armed men from the militant group Sipah-e-Sahaba inside the mosque.

Once again, he is a reminder that one of the West’s most important allies against the forces of terror has a problem dealing with militant voices even in the middle of its own capital. In December, a Pakistani court issued an arrest warrant for Aziz but the police have been unable to enforce it. “We are trying out best to implement it,” a police official said…

Once again we see another recurring pattern in Muslim countries: the leaders themselves are afraid of the radicals. And people wonder why Islamic countries often end up with ruthless ‘strongmen.’