Red Mosque Clashes Ignite Radical Uprising in Pakistan
Radical Islamists are rising up in support of the Red Mosque extremists in Pakistan after government forces exchanged gunfire with the radical students in bloody clashes earlier today.
At least 13 were killed in the clashes on Tuesday including police and students.
There were several protests held throughout Pakistan on Tuesday in support of the Red Mosque radicals.
Islamic religious students chant slogans in Mansehra July 3, 2007 in protest against clashes at the Red mosque in Islamabad. At least six people, including a paramilitary trooper and a television cameraman, were killed in gunfire during clashes with militant students at the mosque run by a Taliban-style movement in Islamabad on Tuesday, officials said. (REUTERS/Ibrar Tanoli)
Activists of Jamiat Talba-e-Arabia chant slogans in Karachi against clashes at the Red Mosque in Islamabad July 3, 2007. At least six people, including a paramilitary trooper and a television cameraman, were killed in gunfire during clashes with militant students at the mosque run by a Taliban-style movement in Islamabad on Tuesday, officials said. The banners read “Attack on Red Mosque is an attack on the feelings of whole Muslims of the country.” (REUTERS/Zahid Hussein)
Female religious students fleeing from the shooting. For months the students have been defying the authorities in the nation’s capital. (BBC)
ADN Kronos reported:
Amid conflicting reports on the death toll, the casualties and who started it all, one thing about the gunfight around Islamabad’s central Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) on Tuesday was crystal clear. Its ramifications will be felt in the Pakistani political and military establishment but also in the remote jihadi heartlands, far from the capital. News of the clashes between the supporters of the radical pro-Taliban brothers running the mosque, and the security forces, spread with frightening rapidity. The death toll from the shooting Tuesday was 13 dead, including police, students and a cameraman.
Armed students and clerics at the Lal Masjid have openly defied the city and state authorities for months in their campaign to impose Islamic Sharia law.
In Mingora, a town in a scenic moutainous area of Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province, (NWFP) some 7,000 youths gathered under the guidance of a local cleric to declare their support for jihad in favour of Lal Masjid, militant sources in the area say. The youngsters reportedly belong to Tehrik-i-Nifaz-i-Shariat Mohammadi (TNSM), a banned Islamist militant group, and were hurriedly called from the nearby districts of Malakand, Mengora, Swat.
The sources maintained that similar sentiments are rampant in the tribal areas of South Waziristan and North Waziristan with large groups of young armed men congregating in Wana and Miran Shah areas and vowing to travel to Islamabad and defend the Lal Masjid. Most of the 5,000 female students at the Islamic boarding schools attached to the Lal Masjid come from North West Frontier Province, South Waziristan and North Waziristan.
In metropolitan Karachi, the scene of explosive poltical clashes last month in which more than forty people were killed, text messages of support for the radical Islamists are circulating on cellphones urging people to rise up against the government.
Small spontaneous demonstrations also took place across the country. Hundreds of workers belonging to Jamiat-i-Ulema-i-Islam took to the street in south western Baluchistan’s capital Quetta and demanded an immediately halt to any police action against the mosque.
Thousands of armed man in Mansehra, belonging to TNSM, have threatened that if the operation is not stopped they will start occupying the national highways and block all traffic.
A Pakistani religious student throws a chair on burning cars at the Environment Ministry near the Red mosque in Islamabad July 3, 2007. (Reuters)
A cameraman Javed Khan lies on the ground after he was hit by a bullet during clashes between students of the Red Mosque seminary and paramilitary troopers outside the mosque in Islamabad July 3, 2007. At least six, including a paramilitary trooper and a television cameraman, were killed in gunfire during clashes with militant students at the mosque run by a Taliban-style movement in Islamabad on Tuesday, officials said. (REUTERS/Faisal Mahmood)
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