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Lal mosque bloodstained

Lal mosque bloodstained
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First Published: Fri, Jul 13 2007. 01 32 AM IST
Updated: Fri, Jul 13 2007. 01 32 AM IST
When religious extremism takes on such a rabid form as to threaten the state power, the government of the day cannot sit idly by. It has to act and deal with it with an iron hand. Religion cannot be allowed to be used as a tool of armed politics, that too from a mosque and madrasa using women and children as a human shield in confrontation with the government. From these points of view, one couldn’t but try to understand the storming of the Red Mosque by the Pakistani security forces. The people of Pakistan, however, would be the best judge as to whether there was an alternative course to resolve the crisis without the bloodletting the government action entailed...
The pertinent question is why successive governments in Pakistan, including the Musharraf regime, allowed things to come to such a pass that a mosque could develop into a safe haven for militants armed with machine guns and rocket launchers.
(The Daily Star)
Now that it’s over…
Reflection on the Lal Masjid crisis centres around two themes; one looking forward, the other a bit more retrospective. The first is an expression of concern about any possible fallout in the future, the second is an evaluation of how the government handled the issue. A day into the action against the Lal Masjid, voices from within the renegade mosque threatened of suicide attacks conducted by associates all over the country if the operation was not stopped immediately... Sure enough, the attacks never took place. With growing casualties, however, the sympathies of the militant right kept growing...
There is also considerable resentment from other quarters as well, specifically over the inefficiency and mismanagement of the army and paramilitary forces during the crackdown...
The action against the Lal Masjid was needlessly long drawn out.
(The Nation)
Let us know the truth
Barring a small minority, most sane minds throughout Pakistan have heaved a sigh of relief over the end of the Lal Masjid stand-off that dragged on for a painful six months. That so many people should have been killed while the security forces tried to flush the terrorists out of the mosque’s sacred precincts is indeed a tragedy, not only for the bereaved families, but for the entire nation... This establishes one truth beyond any shadow of doubt: all that has happened in the Lal Masjid could not have been possible without support from some powerful quarters in the administration.
Were the intelligence agencies incompetent or did they know all along what was going on and how the two brothers were gradually turning the mosque into a fortress?... Many people are asking whether all this was a drama to divert attention from other, more pressing problems the government was faced with.
The general under siege
Pervez Musharraf’s misrule of Pakistan during the past eight years is finally catching up with him. The general’s army was engaged in the bloody siege of a mosque in Islamabad where pro-Taliban Islamic extremists have been defying his government’s authority; more than 20 people already have died in the siege. The rebellion began in January, but Musharraf refrained from taking on the militants until clashes erupted around the mosque last week...
The general has had far less patience for the secular political parties and civil society groups that could be his allies in fighting the Talibanization of Pakistan. He has refused to allow two former civilian prime ministers to return from exile; he has bullied the media, rigged elections and tried to fire the chief justice of the Supreme Court. Consequently, the pressure the President now faces from Islamists is matched by a nationwide campaign against him by Pakistan’s moderate centre.
(The Washington Post)
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First Published: Fri, Jul 13 2007. 01 32 AM IST
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