Red Mosque Siege

I was fortunate enough to be able to take part in a phone call with Abdul Rashid Ghazi, who led the final resistance inside the Red Mosque (Lal Masjid) in Islamabad.

A family member of mine is a high ranking military officer in Pakistan and was part of the operation to storm the Lal Masjid late on July 10th, 2007. Myself and three others were in the room when we received a phone call from him, informing us of General Pervez Musharraf’s plans to storm the mosque. When we spoke to him he told us that the leader of the militants was making constant phone calls to the Pakistani press and the Army, in a plea to get his wounded mother out of the building.

Once Ghazi realised that this was not an option, he called the Army and Pakistani news channel GEO,  and began describing the situation. In the phone call that was made to GEO, he briefly described the conditions he was in, and obvious sounds of gunshots and explosions could be heard in the distance. The phone had been cut off twice, prompting viewers, listeners, and myself to believe that he had been killed.

In his final few calls from inside the mosque, Abdul Rashid Ghazi began to deliver a final message to the public, in which he was heard to ask the public and the Army for a more peaceful  resolution to the attacks, rather than bloodshed – interesting words coming from the man who declined every offer of negotiation the Pakistani government offered.

Ghazi took his hard-line stance after Pakistan’s longest-ruling dictator, General Zia-Ul-Haq, a close friend of his father, was killed before the siege at the Red Mosque.


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