Radical students July 27 again occupied Islamabad’s Red Mosque—hours before a suicide bomber killed 13 people in a market down the street from the mosque. Seeking a political solution to the multiple converging crises he faces, Pervez Musharraf reportedly met abroad with exiled former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Security forces recaptured the mosque after several hours, but scenes of police firing tear gas and protesters calling for jihad recalled the nine-day siege at the Red Mosque that claimed more than 100 lives earlier this month. “The security situation here is getting worse every day,” said student Bilal Hassan. “You expect this in the remote areas, but not in our capital.” (WP, July 28) On July 18, Bush’s top counterterrorism advisor told Diane Sawyer on “Good Morning America” that the US does not rule out sending in US troops if Pakistan allows al-Qaeda continued refuge in the Tribal Areas. “The answer…is what we want to do is work with our Pakistani partners,” Frances Townsend said in response to Sawyer’s question. “But the president’s been very clear. There are no options off the table because job No. 1 is protecting the American people, and nothing will get in our way.” (ABC, July 18)
See our last post on Pakistan.