100 students of Lal Masjid surrender Hindustan Times
At least 100 students of the radical Lal Masjid in Islamabad surrendered on Wednesday before a fresh deadline set by the Pakistani government ended even as the two hardline clerics along with several other students remained holed up inside.
The surrender came as President Pervez Musharraf announced a reward of Rs 5,000 for every student who surrenders besides pardoning them and giving travel facilities to all of them.
Pakistani officials said around 100 male and female students of the madrasa have surrendered. Before that six girl students of the seminary came out and were taken away by their parents.
The government was expected to fix a new deadline after a meeting of federal cabinet in view of the "mass desertions".
Some students who spoke to waiting journalists complained that they were being pressurised not to leave by mosque authorities.
The two radical clerics, Abdul Aziz and Abdul Rahid Ghazi, were still defiant inside the mosque along with some hardline students and were resisting efforts to surrender.
Reports also said that the bodies of three students who were killed by Army snipers were lying inside the mosque.
The bloody standoff between the mosque students and the security forces surrounding the seminary has till now claimed 21 lives and injured over 150.
British women in the UK.
In a related story:
US to hunt the Taliban inside Pakistan
By Syed Saleem Shahzad (hattip: Doug) Asia Times
KARACHI - Since last September, North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces in Afghanistan have been pressing Islamabad for the right to conduct extensive hot-pursuit operations into Pakistan to target Taliban and al-Qaeda bases.
According to Asia Times Online contacts, NATO and its US backers have gotten their wish: coalition forces will start hitting targets wherever they might be.
Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf is expected to
make an important announcement on extremism during an address to the nation in the next day or two.