Lal Masjid Update

President Musharraf spoke and revealed some reasons why the government has not yet taken action against Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa. It turns out that there are suicide bombers from Jaish-e=Mohamed, an Al Qaeda aligned jihadist group, inside the madrassas. They are using the female students as human shields, and he wants to prevent unecessary deaths. Sounds reasonable, but I have to wonder at the opportunities that the government has had to grab both of the brothers who lead the mosque while they were outside with the press that went unused.

This however could be a situation like Beslan, or the school in Iraq, where the madrassa is wired with high explosives and most of the students are really hostage.

As noted in previous Pakistan updates, I think AQ has changed tactics. They now realize the cause is lost in both Afghanistan and Iraq, and they are now focused on taking down the government of Pakistan. This is evidenced by the large influx of foreign fighters these past few weeks — numerous extremists have been picked up at the Taftan border crossing, but how many of the veterans from Iraq are getting through, and planning on taking over in the NWFP?

From his speech via Daily Times:

President Musharraf said on Friday that the potential loss of human lives was preventing him from taking any action against the Lal Masjid, while adding that suicide bombers from Jaish-e-Mohammad were also hiding in the mosque.

“We are afraid of the baton-wielding madrassas who will stand by Lal Masjid if we launch action,” he said, while addressing the concluding ceremony of the National Media Workshop organised by the National Defence University. He said the female students of the Lal Masjid’s adjoining madrassa were “prepared for suicide attacks” and up to 500 children “were being used as human shields” to stop the government from contemplating any operation.

He said members of Jaish-e-Mohammad, a banned militant group linked to Al Qaeda, were also hiding in the mosque, adding that they were all capable of suicide attacks. “How can I take action?” he said. “Action is ready but will be taken at a right time.”

According to Aaj television, the President added that the government would take action against the Lal Masjid if the media guaranteed that it would not show any dead bodies in electronic or print media.

The questions remaining are: how many of the students are willing participants, and how many are really hostage?

Previous stories on Lal Masjid and their provocations

The mainstream press finally catches on to the gravity of the situation here.

6 Replies to “Lal Masjid Update”

  1. As noted in previous Pakistan updates, I think AQ has changed tactics. They now realize the cause is lost in both Afghanistan and Iraq, and they are now focused on taking down the government of Pakistan.

    That is an interesting theory… it makes sense on many levels. The Iraq situation will continue to be chaotic even without AQ’s presence, and it frees up militants to go for the gold… access to nuclear weapons.

    Musharraf is already living on borrowed time… the additional pressure could cause his regime to collapse. This theory is bad news all around.

  2. All of the signs are there. It’s not just the elections that are causing unrest across all political spectrums in Pakistan, all of it’s coming at once as if it were well-timed.

    You’ve also got recent assassination attempts on Sherpao and Musharraf, and there’s a lot more action in Pakistan lately than outside Pakistan. The rifts noted before when rocket hits were coming cross-border from AQAM in Afghanistan to Tribals in Tank were also very telling.

  3. It is sure that all the plot of Lal Masjid Plan has been made by Musharraf, as he wants to prolong his regimen, and so by sacrificing his own innocent people he got the objective. There was no AQ or terrorist. The people were simply asking to rebuild the mosques which he destroyed, to initiate unrest among normal, common muslims. Then he cleverly, through intell. agencies supplied them arms. Through these agencies and IjazulHaq he assured them, that no serious action will be taken against them.These innocent people were then projected as AQ

  4. Ghalib, I don’t believe that tall tale for a second. This has hurt Musharraf in several quarters, the continuing assassination attempts from Harkat ul mujadeen after their camps were closed last October certainly are not a plot from Mushy. Since 2004 there have been attempts on Shaukat Aziz, Aftab Sherpao, and multiple on Musharraf. I don’t agree with Musharraf either, but let’s not imagine things not there. That is as bad as the miscreants who led those poor children astray.

    How do you think AQ works? They find local rebel groups, they find regional causes and hurts. The feed those emotions, and they chew on sores and wounds to gain their recruits. This isn’t always visible to the foot soldier, but eventually they request something that has nothing to do with the cause the Jihadi became militant over. In the end, these fools kill more Muslims than any of the western countries do, and that is a sad fact since they have such large following.

  5. the government of pakistan is working for dividing pakistanis and muslims into catagories of optimistics and pasimisticcs and try to creat a fight between different communities of the countries.
    that is only fo the cause of americans who want to vanish muslims and govern the world. i condemn the whole operation of lal masjid and humbly requst the islam lovers to unite against non belivers and their muslim supporters.

  6. Naeem I saw the picture of the weapons inside, there were letters from Al Zawahiri to Aunty Aziz found inside. You complain about the US, but really it’s AQ that’s working to divide you through suicide bombers. Yesterday they threatened to blow up a whole quarter in Karachi, that’s not Musharraf, that’s not the US. You’ve harbored religious zealotry and bigots for years and now they have turned on you in Pakistan. That’s being a poor guest.

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