Islamabad: Pakistan police is searching for nearly 300 former students of the Red Mosque after reports that some of them are trying to reactivate the defunct Ghazi Force militant group, media reported today.
The militant outfit emerged in the aftermath of 2007 army raid on the mosque that killed Abdul Rashid Ghazi, the younger brother of its hardline imam Maulana Abdul Aziz.
Dawn reported that a number of people, who might have been associated with the militant outfit in the past, needed to be traced, monitored and their status verified.
The police had the record of about 368 such former students of the mosque, who were being traced now.
These suspected people belonged to different districts such as PoK, Attock, Swat and Buner, so the police are contacting their counterparts in these areas.
Those living in Islamabad and nearby districts are being monitored by the capital police.
So far, 68 suspects have been checked and verified and almost all of them cleared. Similarly, 111 people were also traced in other areas and the addresses of 51 of them got confirmed. Efforts are in progress to confirm the addresses of the remaining people.
The officials said vigilance had also been mounted in and around Lal Masjid and those coming there regularly were being monitored.
Ghazi Force was involved in several acts of terrorism including suicide attack on the Special Branch Islamabad on March 23, 2009; Frontier Constabulary barracks on April 4, 2009; Rescue-15 on June 6, 2009, and World Food Programme office on October 5, 2009.
It was dismantled after Swat operation in 2009 but now it is feared that its ex-members were trying to contact one another to restart militancy after a showdown between the mosque and civil society group, when its imam refused to condemn the ghastly Peshawar school attack last month that killed 150 people, mostly children.
A non-bailable FIR was also registered against Lal Masjid's chief cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz for refusing to condemn the massacre.
The Red Mosque, which stands a stone's throw from the parliament buildings in the centre of the capital, had had a series of run-ins with the authorities in Pakistan.
The mosque was the scene of a deadly 10-day siege in 2007 between security forces and the followers of Abdul Aziz. The operation against the mosque had caused much outrage in the jihadi circles.
More than 100 people had died in the military take over of the mosque.