Siege of Lal Masjid - Reactions - International Reaction

International Reaction

China backed Musharraf in his stand against Lal Masjid. The Chinese Minister of Public Security, Zhou Yongkang Zhou, referred explicitly to the Lal Masjid militants as terrorists and demanded that Pakistan act more forcefully to protect Chinese nationals working in the country.

The European Union President, José Manuel Barroso, issued a statement that it "supports the Government of Pakistan in the defense of the rule of law and the writ of the State against the threat posed by such armed radical groups in the context of the fight against extremism." The EU also praised the "restraint and moderation showed by the Pakistani authorities."

United States President George W. Bush gave his support to Musharraf as "a strong ally in the war against these extremists." State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey noted that the militants had been given many warnings before the commandos moved on the Red Mosque. He said, "The government of Pakistan has proceeded in a responsible way. All governments have a responsibility to preserve order." Bryan D. Hunt, of the United States' consulate in Lahore, was quoted as saying that the American government supported the Pakistani government and that "the militants were given many warnings but instead of surrendering they decided to fight and challenge the writ of government." Hunt also said that the U.S. fully supports Pakistan in their War on Terror and considers Pakistan "their closest ally in South Asia." Religious parties and figures criticized the support extended by the U.S. consular official and demanded that the government expel him for interfering in Pakistan’s internal affairs. A Pakistani Foreign Office spokesperson Tasneem Aslam characterized the U.S. consulate official’s statement as contrary to diplomatic norms, and open interference in the country’s internal affairs. She said a protest would be lodged.

India, which has fought three wars with Pakistan, did not officially give any reaction or comments on the Lal Masjid issue.

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