July 2008 Bombing Near Lal Masjid
On July 6, 2008, at 7:50 PM local time, a bomb exploded near Lal Masjid killing 18 policemen and 1 civilian. A Pakistani official claims the bombing occurred on the first anniversary of the siege and was a revenge attack. The attack occurred even amidst tight security in Islamabad, where thousands of Islamic students in Pakistan came to mark the day when Pakistani troops stormed Lal Masjid. The blast was the work of a suicide bomber around 30 years of age. Advisor to the Prime Minister on Interior Rehman Malik, who visited the blast site, said about 12,000 students attended the rally and the attack was directed at the police.
In the same month, the Urdu-language newspaper Aajkal published a cartoon satirizing the wife of Abdul Aziz Ghazi, Umme Hassaan, who ran the mosque's girls' education center. The cartoon depicted her encouraging young women in burqas to "kidnap Chinese masseuses". On July 11, Lal Masjid clerics held a protest against the paper and its editor-in-chief, Najam Sethi, declaring it to be the equivalent of the Jyllands-Posten controversy, in which a Danish newspaper published cartoons negatively depicting Muhammad. Following subsequent death threats against Sethi, the Pakistani government put him under police protection.
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