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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 July 2007, 10:58 GMT 11:58 UK
Pakistan buries Red Mosque dead
Burials took place without ceremony in unmarked graves.

The bodies of dozens of people killed after Pakistani troops stormed a radical mosque in the capital Islamabad have been buried in temporary graves.

Authorities say the 73 people who died were militants - their bodies now await collection by relatives.

The funeral of Abdul Rashid Ghazi, who led resistance in the Red Mosque, has also been held in his native village.

Troops stormed the mosque after its clerics and students waged a campaign to enforce strict Islamic Sharia law.

The Pakistani army flushed out the last of the gunmen inside the Red Mosque, or Lal Masjid, on Wednesday.

It said troops had found 73 bodies inside the compound, and that 10 soldiers had been killed in the 36-hour operation, which followed a week-long siege.

It had been feared that women and children might be among the casualties, but army spokesman Maj Gen Waheed Arshad said none had been found among the bodies.

The BBC's Barbara Plett in Islamabad says there is still no independent confirmation of what happened in the mosque.

The outcome of this episode will determine the future of war against terror
Muhammad Saeed, Islamabad

Scores of civilians, and some militants, emerged from the complex after troops launched an all-out assault in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Some 1,300 people managed to leave the compound during the stand-off, but at least 21 people, including an army commander, were killed.

It is not clear how many people were inside the complex when it was stormed.

Questions, such as how many people died, still need to be answered, our correspondent says.

Cleric's funeral

The burials in Islamabad took place without ceremony in unmarked graves.

Funeral procession of Abdul Rashid Ghazi in Punjab, 12 July 2007
More than 1,000 mourners turned out for Mr Ghazi's funeral

Dozens of coffins with no names, but each with a number, were laid in the ground early on Thursday at a cemetery in the capital.

A cleric read verses from the Koran, Reuters news agency reported. No relatives were present.

In the village of Basti Abdullah in Punjab province, hundreds of people turned out for the funeral of Abdul Rashid Ghazi, the deputy leader of the mosque who the military says was killed in cross-fire.

His elder brother, Abdul Aziz, led prayers as mourners chanted God is Great and called for holy war.

Mr Aziz, the mosque's former leader, was arrested trying to flee the mosque during the siege and attended the funeral under heavy police guard.

"I lost my brother, my students, for the enforcement of Islamic Sharia," he told mourners.

3 July: Clashes erupt at mosque, 16 killed, after long student campaign for Islamic Sharia law
4 July: About 700 students leave mosque, now besieged by security forces; mosque leader caught trying to flee wearing woman's burka
5 July: More than 1,000 students surrender to security forces
6 July: Women are allowed to leave the mosque; students' deputy leader says he would rather die than surrender
8 July: Ministers say wanted militants are holding women and children inside the mosque
9 July: Negotiators talk to mosque leader via loudspeaker without progress; three Chinese workers are killed in Peshawar over siege
10 July: Pakistani troops storm mosque after failure of talks; army says Ghazi killed
11 July: Pakistani army says all militants cleared from mosque

"Ghazi and all those who died in the mosque are shaheed [martyrs].

"My wife and daughters are in custody but this will not stop us from struggling for an Islamic system."

Mr Aziz was taken straight back to detention after the funeral.

Our correspondent says many Pakistanis supported the operation, saying the government had no choice but to confront the Islamic extremists.

But, she adds, the authorities fear a violent reaction from other radicals, and the country is on high alert.

Al-Qaeda's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, issued a videotape calling on Pakistani Muslims to launch a "holy war".

Thousands of extra troops have been sent to the border area with Afghanistan amid fears of an Islamist backlash.

Islamic parties have declared three days of mourning across Pakistan.

Meanwhile, pro-Taleban militants in the border tribal region of North Waziristan have told the government to withdraw troops from checkpoints or face renewed attacks.

1 Special forces attack compound from three sides and breach mosque walls
2 Fierce fighting between military and militants on mosque roof
3 Military take control of mosque and clear building
4 Militants fire from mosque minarets as action switches to madrassa
5 Remaining militants holed up in its basement, with women and children

Thousands attended the funeral of Abdul Rashid Ghazi


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