24
Apr
07

Woman commandos prepare to storm rebel madrassas

While the Pakistan government has decided to relocate Jamia Fareedia and Jamia Hafsa madrassas, both affiliated with Islamabad’s Red Mosque (Lal Masjid), to the city’s outskirts, sources say President General Pervez Musharraf is preparing to use an all-women commando unit to break the occupation of Jamia Hafsa by armed female students. The sources say the paramilitary police had been put on standby as ministers and senior army officers worked on plans to raid the Lal Masjid and two associated madrassas — the Jamia Hafsa and the Jamia Fareedia — in the heart of the federal capital.

Pressure has been mounting on President Musharraf to move against the activists after they mounted a Taleban-style campaign to impose Shariah in Islamabad. There are believed to be 3,000 armed female students inside a children’s library and the Jamia Hafsa, and a further 5,000 armed men inside the Jamia Fareedia.

Groups of burqa-wearing female students have raided alleged brothels, video shops and barber shops, denouncing them as “un-Islamic” indicators of the country’s moral decadence under Musharraf.

More than 150 specialist female antiterrorist officers have been trained for action at the Elite Police Training School in Lahore.

They rise at 4am and spend the next 11 hours learning marksmanship, climbing down 120ft towers, abseiling from helicopters and practising unarmed hand-to-hand combat.

“They’re trained to fight fire with fire and expect to come under intense gunfire in battle,” said Javed Noor, the head of the college. “They learn to fight with a handgun and an automatic machinegun.”

He added that the woman trainees generally performed better than their male counterparts, especially in rope-climbing and marksmanship.

“Their drop-out rate is also much lower. For every 1,000 men who take the course, 250 will drop out. But if I get 30 women, 29 will pass,” he said.

On the other hand, the government has decided to relocate Jamia Fareedia and Jamia Hafsa.

A private TV channel report says the government has some reservations on these madrassas; therefore, it will be moved to some other sector of the federal capital after taking the management of the madrassas into confidence.

The official circles say that certain members of the banned jihadi outfits are trying to disrupt the ongoing talks between the ruling Pakistan Muslim League President Shujaat Hussain and management of Lal Masjid.

The government is investigating into the role being played by the organisation.

A high-ranking meeting, meanwhile convened by Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz reviewed the Jamia Hafsa situation in depth and also discussed its re-location.

The meeting, which was attended by Hussain and one close friend of Aziz, was briefed about the recent talks, hoping that the issue would be resolved soon.

Source: The Peninsula

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