Filed by an eyewitness in Islamabad & Peace and Freedom Staff
July 9, 2007
Troops representing the government of Pakistan’s President General Pervez Musharraf continue a tense vigil surrounding the Lal Masjid or Red Mosque here in Islamabad.
Sporadic gunfire erupted again Monday morning as President Gen. Pervez Musharraf called a high-level meeting to discuss the siege.
Musharraf sent in troops on Wednesday, a day after supporters of the mosque’s radical clerics fought gunbattles with security forces.
Special Pakistani forces were sent to contain the terror campaign centred at the Mosque and meant to impose Taliban-style rule in the capital.
The government said it estimated that 23 or 24 have died in this siege. A mosque spokesman claimed hundreds of men and women died in a military assault on the mosque and adjoining Islamic school.
Reporters have found it difficult to verify either claim. Getting close to the mosque is now next to impossible due to the military presence and the sporadic gunfire in the area.
The big question is: who will win? Who will prevail? Now that a long anticipate ontrontation between the radicals and the more moderate militay regime of President General Pervez Musharraf is underway, what will be the onclusion?
The Christian Sciences Monitor lead editorial today began: “When the violent strand of Islam eventually collapses of its inherent contradiction, that day may have been foreseen in the siege at Pakistan’s Red Mosque. If the military uses wise tactics to end the siege well, civilization will be the victor. ”
“If Mr. Musharraf succeeds in ending the standoff with little bloodshed, the victory will send a strong message to anyone trying to turn Pakistan into ‘Talistan.'”
Terrorism will and must lose. The hatefull, destructive and self destructive use and abuse of human life caused by suicide bombing and other indiscriminate forms of violence can never be allowed to become a way of life.
Read The Chrisian Science Monitor Editorial “Pakistan Zeroes In.”