ISLAMABAD: Members of Pakistan’s banned Jaish-e-Mohamed jihadi organisation have come to Islamabad to help defend a radical mosque against any incursion by security forces, a press report said yesterday.
Mufti Abdul Rauf, a leader of the movement that is accused of carrying out numerous terrorist attacks in Indian-controlled Kashmir and other parts of India, arrived in the capital with a number of associates, the Pakistani daily The News reported.
Rauf was last seen at the Lal Masjid, or Red Mosque, on April 17, a day after he was detained by police in the twin city of Rawalpindi but promptly released after a call from an intelligence agency vouching for him as “their man,” the paper said.
That fuelled speculation that the leadership of the mosque and adjoining madrassa enjoys the backing of some highly placed officials, it added.
The complex is at the centre of a prolonged stand-off with the authorities as clerics there encourage many of its 11,000 students to join the fight against foreign troops in Afghanistan, while others strive towards the imposition of Taliban-style law in
Jaish-e-Mohamed is believed to have close links with the Taliban and Al Qaeda and has been held responsible for the December 13, 2001 terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament in New Delhi. Thirteen people died, including five terrorists.
The group’s arrival at the mosque follows threats by the clerics to mount bombings if the government makes any attempt to storm the premises.
Meanwhile, preparations for a forceful solution to the confrontation were thought to be underway, with large units of army rangers reportedly having been drafted into the city.
Another report from Deutsche Presse-Agentur adds:
Islamic students associated with a radical mosque in the Pakistani capital Islamabad have been indoctrinated and trained to mount suicide attacks, a ruling coalition party claimed in a report released Monday.
Two brothers – Abdul Aziz and Abdul Rashid Ghazi – are thought to be using the female students as human shields to evade any official attempt to end the illegal occupation of land, govern the Red Mosque and its seminaries.
If action were taken against them, the mosque administration planned to kill a few women and children and accuse the government of oppression with a view to justifying suicide attacks, the report alleged.