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July 21, 2005

Real Or PR?: Musharraf Delcares "Holy War" on "Preachers Of Hate" And Radical Madrassas

I know the Brits put pressure on Pakistan after it was discovered three of the 7/7 bombers went to Pakistan terror camps for training; but how could such a shift possibly come now, after the 7/7 attacks, when no such crackdown came after 9/11?

What sort of pressure did the Brits (and US, presumably) apply?

And is this a real crackdown or an Arafat-like series of revoloving door "arrests"?

I have no idea about what this means, if anything:

After a blitz of detentions of suspected militants and Islamists, Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf called for a holy war against preachers of hate and announced steps to curb militant Islamic schools and groups.

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Musharraf spoke on Thursday in a televised address to the nation, which was awaited with keen anticipation both at home and in Britain after revelations of Pakistani links to the July 7 bomb attacks on London that killed at least 56 people.

"I urge you, my nation, to stand up and wage a jihad (holy war) against extremism and to stand up against those who spread hatred and chaos in the society," Musharraf said.

But he had a message for Britain too, saying it had plenty to address on the homefront in the war against terrorism without getting into a blame game with Pakistan.

In the last week, Pakistani security forces have detained close to 300 people, prompting Pakistan's Islamist opposition parties to call for nationwide protests on Friday against the authorities' crackdown.

The vast majority of those detained were picked up in countrywide raids on private houses and madrasas, or Muslim religious schools, during the past two days.

This makes it seem like a real dragnet and not a PR ploy:

As Musharraf spoke, security forces raided the house of Hakeem Ehsan Jigranwi, president of the Punjab chapter of the Pakistani wing of Hizb ut-Tahrir in the eastern city of Lahore, detaining him and another man.

Musharraf addressed some British anxieties by announcing steps to rein in militant Islamic schools and organizations seen as having influenced the bombers. He said all madrasas would have to register with authorities by December.

He also said banned militant groups would not be allowed to re-form under new names or to raise funds, unauthorized arms would be strictly prohibited and action would be taken against the distribution of literature designed to spread hatred.

Some of the 50 suspects rounded up in the eastern province of Punjab this week were members of the outlawed Jaish-e-Mohammad and a splinter group allied with foreign al Qaeda operatives hiding in Pakistan.

In the southern province of Sindh, police have arrested 45 people, including Maulana Ali Sher Hyderi, a top leader of Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, a Sunni extremist group with a record of attacks on minority Shi'ite Muslims.

But in Karachi, Sindh's capital, Deputy Inspector General of police Mushtaq Shah said no arrests were made during overnight raids on several madrasas and mosques. "It appears that they have gone underground, but we are chasing them," he said.

Hmm... I didn't think we could ratchet up the pressure on Musharraf much more than we had been doing, but maybe I was wrong.

Of course, if this results in the destabilization of Pakistan and the takeover of the country by now nuclear-armed terrorists, that's trouble with a capital T that rhymes with P that stands for preemtive nuclear strike.


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posted by Ace at 07:22 PM

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