Firing resumes as 700 Mosque students surrender in Pakistan
At least helicopters are hovering over the controversial Lal (Red) Mosque and its Madrassahs as intense firing resumed between security forces and mosque students, hours after more than 700 laid their arms and handed themselves over to the government.
To avoid bloodshed, the government had been extending the deadline for full-scale operation against the students by an hour since Tuesday night and restraining use of bullets.
Earlier, six female students surrendered, which led to the surrender of over 700 female and male students of Jamia Hafsa and Jamia Fareedia Madrassahs of the Mosque.
The government granted amnesty to female students and after thorough search sent male students to Adiala Jail in adjacent Rawalpindi city. They will be released after interrogation, said Federal Information Minister Ali Durrani.
He also announced that government will offer free education to all surrendering students.
The wave of surrender kept rolling despite resumption of exchange of fire between the two sides and imminent military operation against the mosque.
Credible sources revealed to KUNA that mosque administrators, taking advantage of extended deadlines, have escaped to safer place and were not present in the mosque or Madrassah premises.
Sources claimed some foreign fighters of Central Asian origins are also in the Mosque.
A news report Wednesday said that an Uzbek national was also killed during the current operation, in Lal Mosque.
The sporadic gunbattle, since noon Tuesday, has killed over 21 people, including security officials, students and a journalist while over 200 are said to have been injuries.
KUNA Last Mod: 04 Temmuz 2007, 18:34