ISLAMABAD – More than 500 radical Muslim students surrendered at a besieged
mosque in the Pakistani capital on Wednesday but thousands of militants remained inside a day after 11 people were killed in clashes.
Hundreds of soldiers and police sealed off the mosque and imposed a 24-hour
curfew after Tuesday”s bloodshed, as the government extended a deadline for students to lay
The violence erupted after a months-long stand-off between the authorities and
a Taleban-style movement based at Lal Masjid, or Red Mosque, less than a couple of kilometres (a mile) from parliament and Islamabad’s protected diplomatic enclave.
Soldiers moved 12 armoured personnel carriers, mounted with machineguns, into
the area as gunfire subsided overnight.
Growing numbers of students took up an offer of safe passage and 5,000 rupees
($85) and left the mosque as a deadline for students to surrender passed at 1.00 p.m. (0800
More than 500 people, 100 of them women and children, had left the mosque but
between 2,000 and 5,000 people remained inside, officials said.
The men who surrendered were herded onto trucks while women and children were
Liberal politicians have for months pressed President Pervez Musharraf to crack
down on Lal Masjid’s clerics, who have threatened suicide attacks if force was used against
An AP report contains this quote concerning the holdouts:
One of those who decided to give up, 15-year-old Maryam Qayyeum, said many were not leaving the seminary. “They are happy. They only want martyrdom. They don’t want to go home,” she said.