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Pro-Taleban Islamists in Pakistan Release 2 Kidnapped Policemen

  • VOA News

Pro-Taleban Islamic students in Pakistan have released two of four police officers they took hostage Friday outside a mosque in the capital.

But a senior cleric Abdul Rashid Ghazi at the radical Lal Masjid, or Red Mosque, warned of holy war if Pakistani authorities use force to rescue the two remaining police officers.

Baton wielding students are stationed around the mosque.

The cleric says the two police were freed after authorities agreed to hand over at least two of 11 recently detained Islamic students. He says the other two police will be released when the other students are freed.

The unarmed policemen were taken captive on Friday as they patrolled outside Lal Masjid in central Islamabad.

The hard-line students and their leader have challenged the authority of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, setting up their own court last month to enforce a strict Islamic code of justice.

In an interview with Pakistani television (Aaj) broadcast late Friday, General Musharraf said Islamic militancy is on the rise, and strong measures must be taken to counter it.

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