Lal Masjid - Siege


On July 3, 2007, the stand-off between the students barricaded inside the mosque and the government resulted in bloody gun battles in which over twenty people, including students of the mosque, members of the media, paramilitary personnel, and a businessman reportedly were killed and over one hundred others were injured. An FIR was later registered against the Ghazi brothers with charges ranging from kidnapping and murder to treason, as well as terrorism. People who supported the activities of Lal Masjid said they were only attacking "Chinese girls who were prostitutes and they are destroying CD shops who sold pornography". Lal Masjid held on to what many people call "pure and true Muslim ethic" and what the opposing parties called "fundamental and dogmatic".

The Ghazi brothers were negotiating the conflict with then Senior Minister for Religious Affairs, Ejazul Haq in consultation with Chaudry Shujaat, President Pakistan Muslim League (Q). Till last minute reports, the negotiations were deemed successful. Reportedly, after the minister left the Mosque, he changed his stance and could not defend the commitments he made at the mosque. To avoid collateral loss, on July 4, 2007, the government offered amnesty to juvenile students if they surrendered and over 1000 of the students who supported the cleric accepted. Abdul Aziz Ghazi was arrested while he was trying to escape dressed in a burqa. A reward was announced for the rangers who captured Abdul Aziz.

Government and Security officials had repeatedly asked Maulana Abdul Rashid Ghazi to surrender but he refused. He proposed that if government would give him and his students safe passage to allow him to live a silent life in his home village, he would hand over Lal Masjid to government, Jamia Hafsa and Jamia Faridia to Wafaqul Madaris (a federation of Madaris). This agreement was made between Ulmai Karam and Government including Prime Minister Shokat Aziz and Chohadri Shujaat Hussain but at the final moment Pervaiz Musharaf canceled the agreement and ordered to attack on mosque where hundreds of female students were present but refused to leave even on offer of safe passage. This was called "Operation Silence". Under cover of darkness, 164 elite commandos of the Pakistan Army Special Service Group stormed the Mosque/Madrassah complex from three sides. While police and paramilitary forces secured the outer perimeter of the complex, the gate and walls of the Mosque were breached.

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