- Gentlemen, start your drones: Judge’s ruling opens door for commercial use
- Soldier who hid, bragged about not saluting flag to be punished — in secret
- ‘Maverick’ of the seas: ‘Top Gun’ school for U.S. ship officers to launch
- Putin declares Sochi Paralympics open amid Ukrainian protest
- ‘In Jesus name, we pray’ sparks ire at Ohio council meeting
- Navy’s first laser weapon ready for prime time; drone killer to deploy this summer
- Billionaire backer: Rick Santorum ‘needs to be heard’ in 2016
- Obamacare fallout: 49 percent pessimistic; 45 percent ‘scared’
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
Mosque diehards battle with police
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — The tension long brewing around a radical mosque in Pakistan’s capital yesterday burst into street battles between security forces and masked militants who challenged the government by mounting a vigilante campaign against vice.
Early today Pakistan clamped a curfew around the mosque and warned that armed violators would be shot.
Armored personnel carriers and truckloads of troops massed in the darkness around the Lal Masjid, or Red Mosque, as loudspeaker announcements urged the compound’s hardline leaders to surrender or face action.
The violence dramatically deepens a six-month standoff at the mosque, whose male and female students have kidnapped women at massage parlors and police officers in their efforts to impose a Taliban-style version of Islamic law on the capital.
At one point, a man used the mosque’s loudspeakers to order suicide bombers to get into position. “They have attacked our mosque; the time for sacrifice has come,” the announcer said.
Deputy Interior Minister Zafar Warriach said yesterday’s dead included four students, three civilians, one soldier and a journalist. However, clerics at the mosque said that 10 of their supporters had died, according to a lawmaker sent to mediate the dispute.
The deputy minister said 148 persons were injured, most of them by tear gas fired by security forces.
By nightfall, the city’s top security official, Khalid Pervez, said a cease-fire had been reached with the militants. But Mr. Warriach said the government was “considering all options” when asked what steps would be taken to defuse the powder keg.
Officials said the unrest began yesterday morning when police tried to stop militant students from occupying a government building.
Reporters saw dozens of students, including young masked men with guns and black-robed women with long poles, moving toward security forces deployed about 200 yards from the red-walled, white-domed mosque.
Police shot tear gas and several male students responded by opening fire. Gunfire was also heard from the police position.
Men brandishing assault rifles, pistols and Molotov cocktails, some of them wearing gas masks, then gathered around the mosque, while security forces cordoned off the area with barbed wire and checkpoints and lobbed tear gas canisters at the demonstrators.
Despite a call for suicide attacks, no such attacks were reported.
The students later pelted two government buildings, including the Ministry of Environment, with rocks and set them ablaze, and torched a dozen cars in the ministry’s lot.
Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
- CPAC 2014: Rand Paul urges conservatives to fight for liberty
- Putin has transformed Russian army into a lean, mean fighting machine
- EDITORIAL: Connecticut revolts against gun controls that could criminalize 300,000
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Two liberals say Sarah Palin is right: Obama lacks substance
- Malaysia Airlines says plane on route to Beijing missing
- High schooler suing parents for money shot down by judge
- Soldier who hid to avoid saluting the flag to be punished in secret; Army won't release details
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again