Pakistan Mosque Clash Kills 9

The fight between Islamist terrorists and an illegitimate regime in Pakistan is coming to a head.

The tension long brewing around a radical mosque in Pakistan’s capital burst into street battles Tuesday between security forces and masked militants who challenged the government by mounting a vigilante anti-vice campaign. At least nine people were killed and scores wounded in the clash, which underlined the concern at the spread of extremism in a country struggling to combat Taliban and al-Qaida militants.

The violence dramatically deepens a six-month standoff at Lal Masjid, or Red Mosque, whose hard-line clerics have kidnapped alleged prostitutes and police in their efforts to impose a Taliban-style version of Islamic law in the capital.

Deputy Interior Minister Zafar Warriach said the dead included four students, three civilians, one soldier and a journalist. However, clerics at the mosque claimed that 10 of their supporters had died, according to a lawmaker sent to mediate the dispute. The deputy minister said 148 people were injured, most of them by tear gas fired by security forces.

By nightfall, the city’s top security official, Khalid Pervez, said a cease-fire had been reached with the militants. But Warriach said the government was “considering all options” when asked what steps would be taken to defuse the standoff.

This isn’t likely to end well.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. John Burgess says:

    I don’t think this is ‘coming to a head’. It’s barely a beginning of the cleaning up that needs to be done in Pakistan.

    The problem, of course, is that large sections of the military don’t agree with government policy, but do agree with the extremists.