Calls for Jihad at Funeral for Radical Pakistani Cleric

Days after he was caught fleeing Islamabad's Red Mosque in a burqa, its captured chief cleric gave an incendiary funeral oration at the village burial of his slain brother, predicting the bloodshed would drive Pakistan toward an "Islamic revolution."

But hours later, President Gen. Pervez Musharraf vowed to crush extremists throughout Pakistan and move against religious schools, like the Red Mosque's, that breed them.

In a nationwide television address, Musharraf also said within the next six months security forces along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border would be equipped with modern weaponry, including tanks, to bolster a counterterrorism push.

"Terrorism and extremism has not ended in Pakistan. But it is our resolve that we will eliminate extremism and terrorism wherever it exists," he said. "Extremism and terrorism will be defeated in every corner of the country."

In an apparent backlash to the weeklong army siege that left 108 dead, a suicide bomber attacked the office of a top government official near the Afghan border, while thousands of angry tribesmen mourned three of the fallen militants.

The bloodshed at the mosque has given hardliners a rallying point and new martyrs to mourn, and has sparked calls from Al Qaeda and Taliban for revenge attacks.

But the crackdown on the radical mosque has raised Musharraf's standing among moderates and foreign backers worried about rising extremism in Pakistan.

Troops combing the Islamabad mosque and its adjoining seminary for girls found the body of Abdul Rashid Ghazi among the remains of at least 75 people after the 35-hour commando assault ended Wednesday.

His brother, Maulana Abdul Aziz, who was arrested during the eight-day siege while trying to flee disguised as a women, was allowed to attend Ghazi's burial at his ancestral village in Pujab province.

According to custom, prisoners are normally granted permission to attend the funerals of close relatives.

"Whatever happened in the past days is not hidden from anyone. God willing, Pakistan will have an Islamic revolution soon. The blood of martyrs will bear fruit," Aziz said before leading prayers attended by about 3,000 people.

"We can let our necks be severed but we cannot bow down before oppressive rulers. Our struggle will continue. There are many Ghazis living to be martyred," he said.

As Ghazi's wooden coffin was surrounded by hundreds of mourners, many with tears in their eyes, as it was brought to a madrassa, or religious school, for burial. One man broke a small glass window on the coffin's cover, through which a deceased's face can be viewed.

About two dozen police commandos led Aziz into the madrassa compound while some 700 police were deployed for security at the gathering, area police chief Maqsoodul Hassan Chaudhry said.

After the funeral prayers, Ghazi's body was lowered into a grave on the dust-strewn ground of the madrassa surrounded by a mud wall.

The remains of dozens of militants were placed into temporary graves in the capital.

According to official reports, 108 people died in eight days of fighting around the Red Mosque and its adjoining seminary for girls, which had challenged the government with an increasingly aggressive anti-vice campaign in the capital.

Some opposition figures claim the death toll was higher but have not offered any evidence.

Qazi Hussain Ahmed, president of the six-party opposition alliance Mutahida Majlis-e-Amal or United Action Forum, told a news conference between 400 to 1,000 people were killed.

A day after the final assault, a suicide bomber on foot blew himself up after forcing his way into the government headquarters in the North Waziristan region near the Afghan border, killing two government officials, according to two intelligence officials. Three police officers in another area of the frontier were killed by a suicide car bomber.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blasts, or whether they were carried out to avenge the mosque siege.

But army spokesman Maj. Gen. Waheed Arshad said the Red Mosque reportedly had links to militants active in lawless tribal regions near the Afghan border. He named Tehrik Nifaz Shariat Mohammadi — an outlawed group based in the Swat and Malakand areas whose leader has threatened revenge attacks on the government for the siege — and Baitullah Mehsud, a prominent pro-Taliban militant leader in South Waziristan.

Al-Qaida's deputy leader joined the militant outcry against Musharraf, calling on Pakistanis to wage holy war to avenge the army assault.

In a video message, Ayman al-Zawahri, who is believed to be hiding near the Pakitan-Afghanistan border, told Pakistanis their president "rubbed your honor in the dirt."

At least three protests linked to the attack were staged in the country.

"This is a conspiracy by Jews and Christians against Islam," said cleric Mohammed Sadiq as some 6,000 people gathered for funerals of three religious students killed in the mosque in the Bajur tribal region of the northwest.

Also in the northwest, a hotbed of Islamic extremism, several hundred protesters in the town of Bana attacked offices of three non-governmental organizations, including Care and Save the Children, said police officer Mohammed Idrees.

Prayers were offered for Ghazi in the city of Lahore by more than 2,000 lawyers and opposition activists who hold weekly protests against Musharraf's attempt to sack the country's chief justice.

"This issue could have been resolved through negotiations but General Musharraf intentionally spilled blood of innocent people to please his foreign masters," said Mohammed Ahsan Bhoon, president of the Lahore High Court Bar Association.

Many of the protesters chanted "Go Musharraf go" and "Musharraf is a dog."

Musharraf suspended Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry in March for alleged misconduct, sparking a legal tussle that has fueled growing opposition to military rule.

Critics suspect the president was trying to remove an independent-minded judge to prevent him from upholding legal challenges to his continued rule.

During a media tour of the bullet-scarred, heavily damaged compound, Arshad said two suicide bombings occurred during the assault.

Arshad showed a room with a charred interior where he said a bomber blew himself up along with five or six other people the general described as hostages, although their bodies were charred beyond recognition. The second bomber killed himself inside the mosque's entrance hall.

Authorities recovered 75 bodies, none of them women or children, and 19 were charred beyond recognition, Arshad said.

Arshad said among the 85 people who came out during the final phases of the assault, 39 were under the age of 18. There were 56 males and 29 females.

After the siege began, the government says about 1,300 people escaped or otherwise left the compound.

The extremists had used the mosque as a base to send out radicalized students to enforce their version of Islamic morality, including abducting alleged prostitutes and trying to "re-educate" them at the compound.

Elite Special Services Group commandos went in after unsuccessful attempts to get the heavily armed militants to surrender.

Musharraf vowed five years ago to regulate Pakistan's thousands of religious schools, but concerns have only grown that some are used as sanctuaries or training sites for militants.