Islamabad (AsiaNews/Agencies) – About 3 thousand participants invoked “an Islamic revolution” at the funeral of the radical leader killed in the military assault on Lal Masjid, Islamabad’s “red mosque”. Abdul Rashid Ghazi, 43, was buried in his native village in the province of Punjab yesterday; under heavy police surveillance.
Arrested last week, Abdul Aziz, the brother of the killed radical leader received permission to attend the funeral. “God willing, Pakistan will have an Islamic revolution soon – he said during the ceremony – the blood of martyrs will bear fruit”. Many participants chanted against Pakistan’s president Pervez Musharraf, who 3 days ago gave the go ahead for the assault, which ended yesterday. In a week of clashes between the extremists and army 106 people were killed.
Criticised for his choice to use force, Musharraf defended himself by describing the clash as “inevitable”. In a televised address to the Nation, he described it as his last resort following the failure of negotiations. He then promised that the government will “wipe out” fundamentalism and will not allow Mosques and Madrassahs to become a refuge for terrorists and extremists. Today security levels were raised throughout the country after radical politicians announced national strikes and demonstrations in protest of the president-general.
Al-Qaida's deputy leader joined the militant outcry against Musharraf, calling on Pakistanis to wage holy war to avenge the army assault. In a video message, Ayman al-Zawahri, who is believed to be hiding near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, told Pakistanis “to revolt against the US-backed governments”, led by Musharraf and President Hamid Karzai. A spokesman for the Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar said “now Muslims have no other choice than to fight the infidel and their puppet governments”. An allusion to Islamabad and Kabul. For their part the Taliban deny all involvement in the Lal Masjid siege and underline that they “have no interest in becoming involved in the internal affairs of another nation”.