Two mosques demolished as "security threat" in Pakistani capital
dpa German Press Agency
Sunday January 21, 2007
Islamabad- Authorities tore down two mosques in Pakistan's capital Islamabad over the weekend to prevent them from being used to launch terrorist attacks on passing dignitaries, press reports said Sunday. Located on main roads into the city, the mosques were viewed by intelligence agencies as threats to the safety of local and foreign officials travelling from the airport, a source told the Daily Times newspaper.
There was also a heightened risk from retaliation threats following last week's air strike by government forces on an alleged militant compound in South Waziristan. Conflicting reports said 10 people were killed and as many injured, including some Afghan nationals.
Security was also tightened around petrol stations on the main roads in Islamabad, the paper said.
The Pakistani Interior Ministry reportedly gave the order for the mosques to be pulled down. City development authorities then justified the move by saying they had been built illegally on protected land.
More than 300 religious leaders protested the demolitions, with some denouncing it as a bid by the government to impress the United States and European countries with its anti-terrorism efforts.
© 2006 dpa German Press Agency