Gee, just what Musharraf needs—the State Department weighing in for his repression, augmenting the (accurate) perception that he is Washington’s toady. Don’t they have enough sense to keep quiet? This brings Pakistan one step closer to an Islamist coup, which has been long in the making… From Pakistan’s Daily Times, July 11:
US backs mosque action
The US State Department backed Pakistan’s decision to storm Lal Masjid in Islamabad on Tuesday.
A US State Department spokesman, Tom Casey, said that the militants were given many warnings before the commandos moved on the sprawling mosque compound before dawn. “The government of Pakistan has proceeded in a responsible way,” Casey said. “All governments have a responsibility to preserve order and to try and take steps against terrorists and those that commit criminal actions too.”
“They have made a number of efforts to try and resolve this peacefully. Certainly, no one wants to see loss of life and certainly loss of innocent lives in this process,” he added.
Another State Department spokesman, Sean McCormack, told a departmental briefing that the Pakistani security forces had opted for the action after exercising a great deal of patience and restraint and offering every possible opportunity for the innocents in the mosque to leave. He said in fact they had used violence an opportunity to resolve the situation peacefully. “I understand that there have been 40 to 50 deaths of the violent extremists. And certainly we mourn the loss of innocent life in those brave people who were trying to bring law and order,” he added.
The White House was more cautious. “That’s an internal matter for the Pakistani government to address,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Scott Stanzel said. “What remains clear is, in places throughout the world the threat of extremists is real, but that operation is a matter for the Pakistani government.”
See our last post on Pakistan.