Pakistani police kill 4 as mob storms policegreenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread
By MORT ROSENBLUM, Associated Press
QUETTA, Pakistan (October 9, 2001 9:26 p.m. EDT) - Besieged police officers in a restive border province fatally shot a 13-year-old boy and three other students in a second day of violence as Muslim mullahs stoked sentiment against U.S. air raids on neighboring Afghanistan.
Elsewhere, hundreds of pro-Taliban demonstrators in the eastern city of Lahore stoned police, blocked roads and chanted slogans against President Bush and Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, who supports the U.S. campaign to destroy Osama bin Laden's terrorist network.
Noisy but peaceful protests were held in Karachi, Pakistan's largest city, and Peshawar. In the diplomatic quarter of Islamabad, the capital, troops patrolled the streets in vehicles mounted with machine guns.
The most violent protests have been in this volatile province of Baluchistan, stronghold of the pro-Taliban Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, or Party of Islamic Clerics.
The shooting cut short a rampage in the town of Kuchlak, 14 miles north of Quetta toward the Afghan border, after crowds screamed praise for the Taliban and Osama bin Laden while vilifying America and its allies.
Maulana Abdul Ghani of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam harangued about 2,000 people in Kuchlak before they surged through town, smashing shops and torching the post office.
As they stormed the police station gate, witnesses said, officers opened fire and killed the four youths. French photographers who saw two of the bodies later said both had single bullet wounds in the forehead.
Photographer Patrick Aventurier said they had been shot squarely between the eyes and had exit wounds at the back of head. Neither had other wounds, he said.
Seven other rioters were wounded, two critically, and a policeman was badly hurt, doctors in Kuchlak said. Rioters injured at least 15 people in their rampage through town, according to witnesses.
Shoaib Suddle, Baluchistan inspector general of police, said officers fired in self-defense. He said the rioters were mostly Afghan, and some were armed. Police found bullet marks in the station wall, he added.
"We condemn violence and want protests to be peaceful," said Mullah Kifait Ullah, an Ulema-e-Islam leader in Quetta. But he said armed conflict was inevitable because President Bush had declared war on Islam.
"We are against America and any forces that back America," he said. "If they attack Afghanistan, it will be the start of World War III."
In order to curb protests, Pakistani authorities Tuesday placed two prominent clerics, including the leader of Jamiat ul-Islami, Maulana Fazal-ur Rehman, under house arrest, the Interior Ministry said.
Police confirmed a third cleric, Samiul Haq, leader of the Afghan Defense Council, had been detained, but they would not say where. All three clerics have been organizing anti-American demonstrations.
But the religious opposition insisted that such measures would merely increase hostility, feeding a growing mood of confrontation.
On Monday, thousands of people raged through Quetta in separate bands, burning public buildings and cinemas that showed American or English films. Police shot one rioter dead. Another 26 were wounded or injured.
One group burned the home of a Baluchistan nationalist leader who spoke against the Taliban at a rally on Sunday.
Quetta was peaceful on Tuesday. Many shops stayed closed as merchants feared fresh attacks. But yet another militant rally underscored the tense mood.
A small but enthusiastic crowd chanted in Arabic, "In the name of Allah, we will fight against non-Muslims," and, in Urdu, "Muslims who are friends of America are enemies of Islam."
Maulana Noor Mohammed, a Quetta leader of the Ulema-e-Islam, promised to send young volunteers to Afghanistan if the Taliban needed help. If allied forces take cities, he said, they would join guerrilla resistance.
He also denounced Mohammed Zaher Shah, the 86-year-old exiled king of Afghanistan who is mentioned frequently as a potential interim leader for a representative government.
"If he comes to Afghanistan, the Taliban will kill him," Mohammed shouted to the crowd.
Radical leaders in Pakistan are finding growing support among unemployed urban youths with limited education and few job prospects. Most of their hardcore followers are students of madressah, the religious schools.
"These schools have a new prestige, and what they teach is militant Islam," said Ahmed Basit, a leading Pakistani lawyer. "After one week with these mullahs, some of these students can turn into monsters."
-- David A Jones (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 09, 2001
-- David A Jones (email@example.com), October 09, 2001.