Thursday, July 05, 2007

Lal Masjid: Aabpara Presses The Pause Button

It seems that the Lal Masjid drama was too close to heating up beyond control so it has being wound down.

Musharraf had managed to secure the support of the media and so things were made to look quite a bit better than they are but the situation is being wound down.

It appears my question to the folks of Aabpara has been answered.

Added later:

Just saw this article by Syed Shehzad.

quotable quotes include:

"The Lal Masjid "movement" has steadily fallen into the hands of Islamic militants connected with the radical bases of the Taliban in the two Waziristans. In the past few months, brothers Ghazi and Aziz have lost a lot of their power, becoming more like puppets whose strings are in the hands of the students around them."

"Ghazi admitted to this correspondent two weeks ago that things were not in his hands and that if he ever tried to compromise with the government (as there was considerable pressure from the clergy around the country to do so), he and his brother would be killed by their students. Aziz's attempt to sneak away from the mosque dressed in a veil is evidence of this. Within minutes of his arrest, Aziz was sped away to the nearby headquarters of the Inter-Services Intelligence, from where he telephoned his brother and told him to lay down his weapons. Similarly, a delegation of Muslim scholars visited the mosque to seek a peaceful solution. The militant students forced Ghazi to issue a statement that they would not surrender. "

"As a whole, though, the establishment and the jihadis have not fought one another."

So there we have it... Aabpara wound the situation down when they found it was too hard to control.

Now that the situation has effectively boiled over, and there are atleast 21 dead already, and we all know how fantastically brilliant the Pakistanis are hostage rescue situations (we all remember what happend to Niraja Bhanot), will the media cooperate with Musharraf in keeping the body counts low? that is the question in my mind.

Reports coming in suggest that mortars are being used, oh the memories this brings forth of Bluestar. There is talk of additional brigades being moved to Waziristan... shades of Woodrose!

Once again, the brothers have outmaneuvered Musharraf, they have withdrawn themselves from the conflict, they are now positioning themselves to put the blame for the casualties on Musharraf himself.

Added Still later..

Another article by Syed Saleem Shehzad, saying exactly what I have been suspected all along:

ATol: Maulana Abdul Aziz has been arrested. Many people believe the way in which he was arrested does not match the actions of a person who preaches to others to sacrifice their lives for the cause.

(Shah Abdul) Aziz: This is all government propaganda. The night Maulana Abdul Aziz was arrested and brought to [state-run television] PTV, I had just finished a talk show and was on the way out with Ejazul Haq [minister for religious affairs] and the anchor of the program. I saw Maulana Aziz along with security officials. He hugged me, but only touched fingers when Ejaz tried to shake hands with him. He immediately told me that he had been deceived. He said he was called by a senior official of an intelligence agency with whom he had been in touch for a long time. Since the official could not enter the mosque to meet him [to save his cover and identity] he asked Maulana Aziz to come to Aabpara police station [in walking distance of the mosque] and asked him to dress in a burqa to avoid being identified. [Aziz admitted that he and his brother Ghazi had done this many times before when they were declared wanted by the government]. But as soon as Maulana Aziz left the mosque he was arrested.

So now we wait for the admission of the presence of a tunnel between Aabpara Chowk and the Masjid.

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