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Pakistan Braces for Protests By Islamic Extremists


Pakistan has increased security at mosques and government buildings in anticipation of promised protests Friday, by Islamic hardliners angered by a military raid on Islamabad's Red Mosque.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, who ordered Tuesday's raid following a week-long siege, vowed in a speech Thursday to crack down on extremists.

The government says at least 105 people died during the siege, including militants, students and 10 Pakistani soldiers.

Islamic militants had barricaded themselves in the mosque along with hundreds of others.

In Washington, U.S. lawmakers said General Musharraf must act to eliminate the Taleban, al-Qaida and other extremists in the country.

On Thursday, authorities in Pakistan buried dozens of Islamic militants who died during the siege. A slain top cleric of the mosque, Abdul Rashid Ghazi, was buried by relatives in his ancestral village in Punjab.

Pakistan's army gave the media a tour of the battle-scarred mosque compound. Journalists were shown an arsenal of weapons and a blackened room where the army says a suicide bomber died with other people.

Clerics and students at the Red Mosque had challenged government authority for several months with a campaign to impose strict Islamic law in Pakistan.


Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.
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