From library occupation to Lal Masjid operation
ISLAMABAD, July 11: The standoff between the government and the Lal Masjid administration began on January 22 when Jamia
Hafsa students took over the children's library adjacent to Lal Masjid, and
ended on July 10 with the killing of Lal Masjid deputy prayer leader Abdul
Rashid Ghazi and dozens of his followers.
The following is a chronology of events that took place at Lal Masjid:
January 22: Baton-wielding girl
students took over the children's library to protest against the demolition of
mosques and madrassas in Islamabad.
March 25: The girl students picked up
three women for allegedly running a brothel, who were later released when they
promised to lead a pious life.
April 6: The Lal Masjid administration
set up a Shariah court inside the mosque and the chief prayer leader, Maulana
Abdul Aziz, threatened to launch suicide attacks if the government tried to use
force against them.
April 9: The Lal Masjid Shariah court issued a decree
against former tourism minister Nilofar Bakhtiar for hugging an instructor after
a parachute jump in France.
April 10: The government blocked the mosque's
website and radio station in reaction to the Lal Masjid administration's
May 19: The Lal Masjid students kidnapped four
policemen following the arrest of their dozen supporters. The students kidnapped
another two policemen, but later set all of them free.
June 23: The
Jamia Hafsa students kidnapped nine people, including seven Chinese nationals
(six women and a man) from an acupuncture clinic, claiming it was an undercover
brothel. All were freed following protests from Beijing.
July 3: The
students snatched weapons from policemen deployed at a building facing the Jamia
Hafsa. Troops and paramilitary forces cordoned off the Lal Masjid and Jamia
Hafsa compound, leading to a tense standoff between the security forces and
militants inside the Lal Masjid.
July 4: The government imposes a curfew
around the mosque complex. It says anyone who wishes to may leave the premises,
but any armed militants will be shot on sight. The first two days of fighting
leave at least 16 people dead and some 140 injured. Among the hundreds of people
holed up in the complex are women students and children.
capture Lal Masjid prayer leader Abdul Aziz while trying to leave disguised in a
woman's burqa. This sparks an exodus, with some 1,200 people leaving the
July 5: New fighting breaks out around the mosque complex, with
students inside throwing hand grenades and the army demolishing most of a
surrounding wall. Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao accuses Abdul Rashid Ghazi of
retaining women and children as human shields inside the mosque.
50 more militants leave the building voluntarily, and security forces say they
have captured eight more.
July 6: Heavy explosions are heard around the
mosque complex. From inside, Ghazi announces that he and his followers would
rather die than surrender. Officials say that several hundred students remain
inside the complex, along with some 60 armed militants, but the figures cannot
be independently verified.
July 7: President General Pervez Musharraf
said that all militants holed-up inside the mosque would be killed if they did
The government puts the death toll from clashes at 19,
while Ghazi says 70 have been killed.
Ghazi says he received a phone
call from a man who claimed to have shot at Musharraf's aircraft on Friday in
revenge for the siege. Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz accuses the militants of
holding hostages. Ghazi denies the claim.
July 8: Security forces tighten
the noose on the mosque complex, as a senior commando is killed in an operation
to blast through the complex wall in a bid to allow women and children inside to
Religious Affairs Minister Ejazul Haq says militants have stripped
Ghazi of control of the mosque. Haq calls the militants "terrorists," saying
some of them are foreign. Another senior official says 15 militants have been
given explosives-laden suicide jackets.
Musharraf, Aziz and top officials
meet to assess the government's options. The government puts the death toll at
July 9: Musharraf meets with key officials to determine the next
step. He appoints PML President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain to work with clerics to
find a peaceful solution. Pro-Taliban militant commanders in Bajaur Agency tell
20,000 tribesmen that they must exact revenge for the siege. The tribesmen vow
to wage "holy war" against Musharraf. A delegation of ministers and clerics hold
last-ditch talks with Ghazi using loudspeakers. The government offers Ghazi
house arrest. Negotiations break down.
July 10: The security forces
launched a final operation against the Lal Masjid militants at 4am after all
efforts to defuse the situation failed. Troops storm the mosque in a bid to free
the women and children inside, sparking fierce gun battles with militants that
leave at least 50 militants and eight soldiers dead, the army said. Ghazi is
also killed in the operation. Daily times
"This news analysis is totaly biased. and it does not mention at all what Government have been doing during all that time when this problem was enhancing. Government just cooked it up till the time they could get the maximum benefit from it and proved themself successful in the eyes of America. God is watching all that and justice will be done in His court where no one can escape."
Name: Sara Khan
City, Country: Islamabad, Pakistan
"i am not agreeing.Governament never ever launch the opreation on innocent boys and girls.this problem should be solved through dialog process but some govet official dn,t wana resolve it.however i just say k lal masjid k shohada k khoon ranng llay gaa. her ghar se ghazi nikly ga tum kitny ghazi maaroo gay. and another intersting news God give him a new child when he martyard at 10 july his name was as same as his father abdul rashid ghazi."
City, Country: Islamabad, Pakistan
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