The study centre attached to the mosque was badly damaged in the assault and has since been demolished. All that remained on Thursday were piles of concrete and mangled steel.

In the courtyard, workers pitched tents in anticipation of worshippers filling the main hall on Friday and spilling over outside into Islamabad's monsoon-season heat and humidity.

Outside the mosque, dozens of police and paramilitary officers remained on patrol, and barbed wire still encircled part of the complex.

Police storm

The mosque was left scorched by explosions and sprayed with bullets after commandos stormed the complex on July 10 to end a week-long siege by those inside. At least 102 people died in the fighting and violence earlier in the siege.

The Red Mosque was riddled with bullets [AFP]

Ul-Haq said that 50 bodies found in the mosque after the siege were still to be identified.

He denied that the government was hiding the exact number of casualties. 

After the siege, the government sealed off the central mosque and moved quickly to have it repaired, amid outrage in Pakistan that a sacred place had been the scene of violence.

Ul-Haq said the government will pay for the education and accommodation of students from the demolished seminary if asked for.

A senior municipal official said the school would not be reconstructed.

Protests against Pervez Musharraf, the Pakistan president, were planned for Friday.