Asia Times Online :: South Asia news – Pakistan’s iron fist is to the US’s liking: “Pakistan’s iron fist is to the US’s liking
By Syed Saleem Shahzad
KARACHI – A last-minute intervention by Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf ended nine hours of negotiations seeking a peaceful end to the siege of the radical Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) in Islamabad.
Apparently saying he was ‘heavily under duress from his allies’, the president in the early hours of Tuesday instead ordered in the military to end the seven-day saga. Unconfirmed reports even say that Musharraf personally led the assault, along with Corps
Commander Rawalpindi Lieutenant-General Tariq Majid. The media were barred from the mosque’s immediate vicinity.
Asia Times Online contacts believe that Musharraf was referring to Washington, which has in the past few months stepped up pressure on its partner in the ‘war on terror’ to take action against al-Qaeda, the Taliban and foreign militants inside Pakistan.
When the siege of Lal Masjid began a week ago, the administration of US President George W Bush was fulsome in its praise that something was being done, as the mosque is a known supporter of al-Qaeda and the Taliban, and even a safe haven for militants.