Police and seminary students exchange gunfire at the Red Mosque in Islamabad.
Chaudhry Mohammed Ali, the city’s deputy administrator, said more than 1,000 people inside the mosque had surrendered.
Tariq Azim, the deputy information minister, said all women and children would be granted amnesty, but men involved in killings and other crimes as well as mosque leaders would face legal action.
One who decided to give up, 15-year-old Maryam Qayyeum, said those who stayed in the madrassa or religious school, “only want martyrdom”.
“They are happy,” she said. “They don’t want to go home.”
|Security forces set up screening centres to
check people leaving the Red mosque [AFP]
But the government said it would not open dialogue with the mosque’s clerics.
“The prime minister made it clear that time for negotiations with the management of Lal Masjid had lapsed due to the obstinate and uncompromising attitude of the Ghazi brothers,” the government said.
About 5,000 students, most from poor areas of Pakistan, are registered at the mosque and its affiliated schools.