Jul 6, 2007

Musharraf Backs Down in Red Mosque Standoff

Instinctively many knew that the pro-taliban militants holed up in the Lal Masjid only had to last until Friday before the momentum would shift in their favour and that is precisely what has now happened.

The first signs of Pervez Musharraf's impotence became apparent yesterday evening when Musharraf expressed outrage over the airing of a "humiliating" interview by state-run PTV of the head cleric of from the Lal Masjid, Maulana Abdul Aziz, who was "grilled" in the same burqa robes he wore while attempting to flee the siege on the Red mosque. Musharraf has directed the channel not to repeat the telecast of the interview.

Over the last few days Pervez Musharraf has found himself under increasing pressure from pro-taliban sympathizers in his own government and the military who have strongly objected to Musharraf's heavy-handed approach in dealing with the pro-taliban militants. That message would be made abundantly clear to Pervez Musharraf this morning at 10:15 am Pakistan time when anti-aircraft guns fixed on the rooftop of house adjacent to the Chaklala military air base in Rawalpindi fired rounds in the flight path of Musharraf's plane as it took off.

Prior to President General Pervez Musharraf's plane taking off from the presidential camp office in Rawalpindi, Musharraf would approve a plan presented to him by intelligence and security officals to give amnesty to the estimated 100 pro-taliban militants still holed up inside the Lal Masjid, provided that they lay down their weapons and surrender. Should the deputy cleric of the Lal Masjid, Maulana Abdul Rashid Ghazi, and 100 or more militants, decide to surrender, the government would withdraw all criminal cases filed against them since February.

For those familiar with the current situation in Pakistan, the firing on Pervez Musharraf's plane as it took off this morning was clearly meant to "drive the message home" and it has done just that.

A relaxation in the curfew and a halt in the siege was originally to start at 12:30 pm and end at 3:30 pm for Friday prayers. Up until 5:30 pm there has been no resumption in the operation to force the militants to surrender. Musharraf is reported to have ordered a temporary halt to the security operation to "access the situation" and for a delegation of political and religious figures to convey the amnesty proposal to the pro-taliban militants remaining inside.

A complete timeline of the events following can be found here


  1. Anonymous6:23 PM

    You might wanna take a look at this column now up at Malaysia Today:

    Would be curious to hear your thoughts.

    Apparently this 'antijihadist' character has written quite alot of columns at Malaysia Today recently.

  2. I think he does it from Korea if I am not mistaken.

    My comments...

    Submission is the antithesis of free thought...


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