91 civilians killed in Lal Masjid operation
Pakistan has admitted deaths of 91 civilians in the military operation to flush out Islamic extremists barricaded in Lal Masjid, which left radical cleric Abdul Rashid Ghazi and 100 others dead.
"Altogether 102 people have died in the operation. The breakdown is: 10 Army officers, a Ranger and 91 civilians," the Dawn reported on Saturday, quoting Interior Minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao as saying.
The admission came two days after President Pervez Musharraf hinted in a televised address to the nation that some women and children had died in the fierce clashes that turned the capital into a battleground.
The Interior Minister said 248 people were also injured in the entire operation, out of which, 27 were still undergoing treatment in the hospital.
Out of 75 people killed in the final assault, Sherpao said the bodies of ten have been identified, including that of Maulana Abul Aziz's son. Three bodies have been handed over to their families.
Claiming that bodies of five foreign militants killed in the operation have also been identified, Sherpao said, "There must be more bodies of foreign militants."
He said that the government would soon publish a list of all those killed, injured, detained and set free.
Meanwhile, authorities imposed prohibition on the surrounding areas of Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa late on Friday night, restricting the movement of common people.
The restrictions were issued under the Anti-Terrorist Act and will remain imposed for a week, The News reported, quoting a senior police officer as saying.