Pakistan Delays Storming of Lal Masjid

It appears the rumors of a UAV overflight of the red mosque reported yesterday were real, and the Pakistani forces have delayed storming the mosque based on fresh intelligence from the surveillance.

More at The Hindu:

Pakistan security forces have reportedly deferred plans to storm the Lal Masjid today and are looking into a new strategy after getting fresh information of the situation inside the besieged mosque by an unmanned aerial vehicle.

Military officials, who were last night given an all clear signal from President Pervez Musharraf to raid the complex, altered their strategy in light of the new information.

The UAV hovered over the Lal Masjid, where militants are holed up, for more than two hours last night and took pictures of the besieged mosque. The plane recorded the images of people present at Lal Masjid and the girls madrassa, Jamia Hafsa and their movements.

In the light of the information provided by the images, a new strategy against Lal Masjid has been adopted, Geo TV reported.

There are also reports of two more “tall” burqa clad persons being captured near the mosque in yesterday’s report.

Faisal Aziz of Reuters has a the latest here.  Note the closing of the article – “The Lal Masjid movement is a reflection of the militancy seeping into cities from tribal areas on the Afghan border.” You see a form of this in various articles regarding the crisis, but really it’s more of radical Taliban supporters forcefully transplanting themselves to the capital. The average urban resident of Islamabad isn’t about to run off an join Bin Laden in other words, and the recruiting is really flagging. The bulk of the students come from Swat and other frontier areas, or they are sons and daughters of the military (mostly old-guard Zia Haq ISI).

It is of interest that the jihadis are refocusing from sending everything they have across the passes to Afghanistan — they are now refocused on Pakistan. There lies their mistake.

In this article the count of HJI militants increased from 8 to 9 — perhaps this update comes from the UAV intel?