Authorities in Pakistan have issued an arrest warrant for a well-known Imam who has refused to condemn the recent attack on a school in Peshawar by the Pakistani Taliban.
Imam Abdul Aziz, head of the radical Red Mosque in Karachi, is accused of threatening demonstrators outside the mosque who had called on him to add his voice to the chorus of condemnation for the attack which 152 people, most of them children, dead.
Officials at the Red Mosque have told the BBC that they will resist any attempts to arrest Imam Aziz.
The cleric told the BBC: “The government should arrest those accused of more significant cases, like murder and kidnapping.
“My case is very small and even a sub-inspector can grant me bail.”
The cleric is well known for his overt support of extremist elements in Pakistan.
Earlier this year, a library at a school attached to the Red Mosque was renamed ‘Bin Laden’ in honour of the former Al Qaeda leader.
The government of Nawaz Sharif has stepped up a crackdown on extremists since the attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar on 16 December.
Mr Sharif has said that the attack has “changed” the country adding that now there would be “no place for terrorism, extremism, sectarianism and intolerance.”
Several militants have already been executed since the attack following trials at newly introduced military courts.