– LAL-MOSQUE CRISiS
The (red) Lal Mosque in Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital, is a very large compound. The compound contains the Mosque, two madrassas (Islamic schools), dormitories and offices. About 5,000 persons are working, praying and learning in the Lal Mosque. It is assumed that more then thousand people are in the compound at any given moment. That kind of Mosques served as a greenhouse for the emerging of the Taliban in the 80th.
The Lal Mosque is run from 1998 by two brothers Mualana (in English- our teacher) Abdul Aziz and Abdul Rashid Ghazi. The brothers were members in an Islamic radical group that was arrested by the Pakistani police on 08/11/2004. The group stored explosives and weapons in order to carry out suicide attacks against USA and Western targets in Islamabad (see – Islamabad 04 Cell). On 08/17/2004 Mualana Abdul Aziz and Abdul Rashid Ghazi managed to escape from arrest when the Pakistani police raided the Lal Mosque.
The Lal Mosque became a permanent headache for Pakistani Authority and a constant threat to the delicate political balance between Islamic militants and the secular Military regime in Pakistan.
On Friday 06/22/2007 night, after the prayers, Islamic students from the Lal Mosque in Islamabad, stormed a nearby acupuncture clinic in a residential part of the city, which they said was a brothel and took 9 hostages: 6 Chinese women and 3 local men, and held them inside the Mosque. The PAKISTANI police surrounded the area. The hostages were freed on Saturday 06/23/2007, after 24 hours.
The Lal Mosque remains center of Islamic unrest. On 07/03/2007, about 1500 radical Islamic students, that were in the Mosque, exchanged fire with Pakistani security forces surrounding the area.
On 07/04/2007 Mualana Abdul Aziz tried to escape the Lal Mosque dressed as women wearing the burqa (veil). He was captured by the Police (See – Khalid Khawaja testimony) . Following his arrest Mualana Abdul Aziz appeared in the Pakistani media and urged his congregation in the Lal Mosque to leave the mosque and surrender.
Approximately 1200 followers of Mualana Abdul Aziz left the Lal Mosque after his appeal but another few hundreds remain inside the Mosque. Before dawn 07/05/2007 the Pakistani army initiated a series of loud explosions outside the mosque which demolished the front walls of the mosque, in order to intimidates the remaining.
On Thursday 07/06/2007 night, Abdul Rashid Ghazi began negotiation about the terms of surrender and Pakistan‘s President Pervez Musharraf ordered security forces to restrain and allow women to leave the Red Mosque complex, but insisted on unconditional total surrender. Pakistani authority is afraid that the Islamic militants left in the Lal Mosque, their number estimates in few hundreds, are looking for martyrdom and whish to become “Sahidun” (those who sacrifice their life for Allah – God).
On Tuesday, 07/10/2007, Pakistani troops stormed the Lal Mosque complex in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad. The troops faced stiff resistance and found the radicals in the Mosque well prepared and equipped with gas masks. After about 24 hours of slow advance and exchange of fire the army claims that the takeover of the Mosque is in its “final stages”.
During the whole day of fighting 11 Pakistani soldiers were killed and over 90 militants, including their leader Abdul Rashid Ghazi . The total number of casulties in the Lal Mosque crisis in the last week reached over 120 according to the official numbers of army authority.
* In that kind of military confrontation the army has the tendency to proclaim achievements and announce victory or almost victory too soon and before it is really over.
* It is almost certain that the real number of casulties will be much higher.
* Abdul Rashid Ghazi will, most likely, become a martyr and his death may become a rallying point for Islamic extremists opposed to President Pervez Musharraf.
* The fundamental crisis about the stability and political nature of Pakistan is far from over (see – ANBIGUOUS PAKISTAN )
* Mualana Abdul Aziz was released from jail, as a gesture, in mid 04/2009 but remained defiant. In his first speech in Islamabad, on Friday 04/17/2009, Mualana Abdul Aziz continued to incite against the Pakistani regime and promised his audience that “The day is not far away when Islam will be enforced in the whole of the country.” (see – Swat-Law)
* Related topics –
09/2008 -U.S & PAKISTAN : DIFFERENT WARS02/2002 -KARACHI JAIL VAN ATTACKPAKISTAN’S SECTERIAN VIOLENCE
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