AL-QAEDA has urged Pakistanis to revolt against President Pervez Musharraf following the storming of the Red Mosque in Islamabad, in an audiotape posted on the Internet.
“I call upon the Ulama (Muslim clergy) in Pakistan…. Musharraf and his hunting dogs have tarnished your honour in service of the crusades and the Jews,” the
group’s second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, said in the recording, after stating that he was speaking on the “occasion of the criminal aggression” on the mosque.
The recording was hosted on a website known to publish Al-Qaeda statements.
“If you do not revolt, Musharraf will annihilate you. Musharraf will not stop until he uproots Islam from Pakistan,” Zawahiri said.
“Muslims in Pakistan: no salvation for you except through Jihad (holy fight). Rigged elections and politics will not help you…. You should now support the mujahedin (holy warriors) in Afghanistan,” he said.
“Are there no honourable men in Pakistan?” he added.
Pakistani troops Wednesday cleared the last militants from the Red Mosque in
Islamabad after two days of intense fighting that left at least 82 people dead, including 73 militants, and turned the capital into a battleground.
Commandos killed the final hardcore of rebels who fought to the death in tunnels and bunkers beneath the living quarters of their chief, pro-Taliban cleric Abdul Rashid Ghazi, who was shot dead late Tuesday.
Ghazi, 43, the public face of the mosque and its deputy leader, said before he was killed in the fighting that he and his followers would rather die than surrender and hoped his death would spark an Islamic revolution in Pakistan.
His brother, head cleric Abdul Aziz, was caught trying to flee the mosque in a burqa a week ago.
Zawahiri described in the same tape the parading of Abdul Aziz Ghazi on television dressed as a women as a “vile crime committed by Pakistani military intelligence”.