Boy’s madrassa captured; loud explosions around Red Mosque


Islamabad : Pakistani security forces raided and captured the boys' madrassa run by the radical clerics of the Lal Masjid and took into custody a large number of students as a series of massive explosions and gunfire rocked the area around the besieged mosque complex creating panic among people in the capital.

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Jamia Faridia madarassa, which had over 3,000 students on its rolls, was taken over Friday night by the security forces after a series of deafening explosions in areas near the Masjid complex, where several hundred militants led by deputy head of the mosque Abdul Rashid Ghazi are holed up and engaged in a tense stand-off with security forces, witnesses and media reports said.

The madrassa is located in a posh area in the capital and is about four kms from the mosque. In the same area, top diplomats and disgraced scientist A Q Khan also resided.

A large number of students were also taken into custody. Most of the boys of the madrassa, however, are believed to have been holed up in the Lal Masjid along with Ghazi and other militants.

Jamia Hafsa, the girls' madrassa, is attached to the mosque which is located in another posh area of the city. Jamia Faridia, the boys' madrassa, was allegedly constructed on illegally acquired land at the foothills of picturesque Margala Hills.

According to Ghazi, the two madrassas housed poor children numbering about 7,000.

For the past seven months, the city witnessed students of the two madrassas indulging in moral policing. They hit the headlines after abducting a police patrol two months ago to demand release of some detained boys.