Amnesty offer for all who lay down arms
ISLAMABAD, July 6(Daily Times): President General Pervez Musharraf on Thursday approved a plan to
extend a general amnesty to about 100 militants still holed up inside Lal
Masjid, provided they lay down their weapons and surrender to the security
forces, sources said.
They said the decision was taken at a
meeting chaired by Gen Musharraf at the presidential camp office in Rawalpindi.
The sources said that the government had decided to withdraw all
criminal cases filed since February against the 100 or so militants, including
Lal Masjid deputy cleric Maulana Abdul Rashid Ghazi, provided they
Clashes between security forces and militant students have
left 19 people dead and some 100 injured since Tuesday morning, according to
The sources said that the proposal for withdrawal of
cases against the militants came from intelligence and security officials, who
suggested that the militants had taken Ghazi hostage. The meeting was informed
that the militants holed up inside the mosque were wanted by the police in
several cases of terrorism, including bombing of imambargahs, said the
They said the meeting also decided to send a delegation
comprising political and religious figures to the mosque to convey the proposal
to the Lal Masjid administration.
However, the sources said, Maulana Shah
Abdul Aziz, member of the National Assembly from Karak, and Ejazul Haq,
religious affairs minister, had refused to accompany or lead the
The sources said the proposed plan could be passed on to the
militants through backdoor channels or through the media if a suitable
delegation failed to materialise.
Meanwhile, National Crisis Management
Cell (NCMC) Director General Brig (r) Javed Iqbal Cheema told a press conference
that Gen Musharraf had directed officials to give the maximum time to the
militants of Lal Masjid in order to provide safe passage to girl students still
in the mosque.
He said the president had directed the authorities to
provide parents and relatives safe access to their freed children. "More time
could be given to the law-enforcement agencies so that human loss could be
averted," Cheema quoted the president as having said.
Gen Musharraf also
directed the security forces to complete the operation as swiftly as possible.
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