Pakistan mosque standoff ends

Two soldiers held hostage for over six days are released from mosque in Islamabad.

    The two policemen were siezed by
    students at the Red Mosque [AFP]
    He denied the release had anything to do with the gathering threat of a police raid and said his followers could abduct more police in future.
    The release will slightly defuse a four-month-old confrontation between authorities and the clerics, whose male and female student followers have launched a moral policing campaign that has included threats to music stores and the abduction of an alleged brothel owner.
    Students from the mosque armed with batons seized the policemen last Friday putting further pressure on the country's president, General Pervez Musharraf, who has been facing public criticism for his suspension of the country’s top judge.
    Standoff ended

    Watch Al jazeera's report on how the crisis was resolved

    Before the officiers were released, Ghazi said that the political unrest in Pakistan would further the students' goal of creating a pure Islamic state.
    "If the government tries to suppress the change that our movement is demanding, then there is a likelihood of 'Talibanisation,'" the 43-year-old Ghazi said.
    "I can see it happening."
    At the heart of the clash between the clerics and the government are plans to demolish mosques and seminaries, including one attached to the Red Mosque, that officials say were illegally built years ago on government land whose value has since skyrocketed.
    A government spokesman said Tuesday that authorities have agreed to rebuild some mosques elsewhere. It was unclear if they had made more concessions to win the two officers' freedom.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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