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Home > News > Report

Pak papers warn government over jihadi ties

July 11, 2007 15:52 IST

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Jihad in Islamabad

The Lal Masjid episode is a much "needed warning" to the state to disentangle itself from jihadi fighters, the Pakistan media on Wednesday said, emphasising that the government must relentlessly pursue terrorists masquerading as "soldiers of Islam."

Faulting the authorities for letting militants hole up in the mosque, The Dawn newspaper in its editorial headlined 'A gruesome end' said the government must relentlessly pursue terrorists and criminals masquerading as "soldiers of Islam" as there was no room for complacency.

"The government's mistakes in the entire drama notwithstanding, one has to admit that it exercised the utmost restraint. It kept talking to the Aziz-Rashid brothers for months and used a variety of channels to free the hostages and disarm the militants," it said.

"While no tears will be shed over the death of the well-armed militants gathered around him by (Abdul Rashid) Ghazi, our hearts go out to the families of those innocent men, women and children who were killed during Tuesday's operation. The responsibility for the death of the innocents rests with the extremists," it added.

Pakistani troops on Tuesday stormed the Lal Masjid complex to flush out holed up militants. The operation left 88 militants and 12 commandos dead.

The News in its editorial 'A bloody end' said by his actions Ghazi proved to be a very difficult customer. He kept changing his demands and hence, the decision to launch the final assault was not an easy one.

"The government of President Pervez Musharraf [Images] had no choice but to act because it could not make any concessions to radical mosque leader Abdul Rashid Ghazi, who died in the fighting," it said.

The newspaper added that the incident was a "much-needed warning to the state" to disentangle itself from the jihadi fighters that Pakistan has been accused of using to pursue its foreign policy.

"It offers many lessons to the government and it would be good if some of these were learnt -- foremost is that militancy extremism is best nipped in the bud," it said.

The Nation in its editorial said, "It must be said in the government's favour, though it made persistent attempts to get the seminary vacated with minimum of loss of life and did succeed to a large extent -- nearly 1,300 men, women and children came out to surrender -- but now the outflow had virtually seized either because the remaining lot was too committed to the cause to desert or was being forced to stay as hostages or human shield."

However, some Urdu dailies criticised the operation.

The Islam Daily said it was a "black day" and that more efforts should have been made to negotiate with the radicals.

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