Chronology of Pakistan Mosque Siege
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | Published: July 10, 2007
A chronology leading up to Tuesday's bloody raid of the Lal Masjid, or Red Mosque, in the Pakistani capital:
-- January 2007: Scores of female seminary students armed with canes occupy a children's library in Islamabad, protesting government plans to demolish mosques and madrassas -- religious schools -- built without official permission.
-- March 27: In the start of a Taliban-style anti-vice campaign, female students abduct three women they accuse of running a brothel, then later seize two policemen. They are released after reportedly repenting.
-- April 6: The mosque sets up an Islamic Shariah court. The mosque's senior cleric, Maulana Abdul Aziz, vows to launch thousands of suicide attacks if the government tries to close him down.
-- April 9: The Shariah court hands down a religious edict, or fatwa, against Pakistan Tourism Minister Nilofar Bakhtiar, accusing her of committing a sin, after she is shown in newspaper photographs embracing a parachuting instructor following a charity jump in France.
-- April 10: The government blocks the mosque's Web site and radio station.
-- May 19: Students associated with the mosque kidnap four policemen after the arrest of a dozen mosque supporters. The kidnap of another two policemen follows. All are eventually freed.
-- June 23: Dozens of students kidnap nine people, including six Chinese women and a Chinese man, from an acupuncture clinic, claiming it is a brothel. All are freed following protests from Beijing, in what proves to be the last straw in the six-month confrontation.
-- July 3: Escalating tensions erupt into street battles around the mosque between security forces and militants. At least nine people die and some 150 are wounded.
-- July 4: Security forces lay siege to the mosque, later demanding an unconditional surrender and the release of alleged hostages held inside. Aziz is arrested sneaking out of the mosque dressed in a burqa and high-heels. His brother Abdul Rashid Ghazi takes over as mosque chief.
-- July 7: President Gen. Pervez Musharraf threatens the militants inside the mosque with death if they do not lay down their arms.
-- July 10: After negotiations fail, security forces storm the mosque. Ghazi is killed, along with about 50 militants and eight soldiers.