U.S. accused of bombing Pakistani religious school

Pakistan's largest Islamic group accuses the U.S. of bombing a religious school on the Afghan border on Monday and condemns the Pakistani government for taking responsibility for the "massacre of innocent students

U.S. accused of bombing Pakistani religious school

The Pakistani army said that its helicopters fired missiles at the school, claiming that it was used as an al-Qaeda training camp.

Army spokesman Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan said that the raid killed 80 people, making it one of the deadliest military operations in the country. 

U.S. and Pakistani military officials denied American or NATO involvement and rejected accusations that children and women died in the strike, which destroyed the building in the remote northwestern village of Chingai that lies in the Bajaur tribal region bordering Afghanistan.

But local people and Muslim leaders said the pre-dawn raid killed innocent students and teachers at the school, known as madrassa.

Muslim leaders also urged local people to stage demonstrations to condemn the "American assault" on Pakistani soil.

More than 10,000 tribesmen rallied Tuesday in the northwestern town of Khar near the site of the attack, chanting: "Death to Bush! Death to Musharraf!" and "Anyone who is a friend of America is traitor."

"The forces of infidelity are trying to erase us from existence," Islamic cleric, Maulana Roohul Amin, told the crowd.

Protests were also held Monday from the northwestern city of Peshawar to the southern city of Karachi, the largest taking place in Chingai and the Bajaur district's main town of Khar.

The head of Pakistan's largest Islamic group, Jamaat-e-Islami, said that his party would observe Condemnation Day across Pakistan on Tuesday.

Addressing a news conference, Qazi Hussain Ahmed said that the United States was responsible for the raid, which he said was aimed at sabotaging the peace deal between the Pakistani government and the people of Bajaur disctrict.

"It was an American plane behind the attack and Pakistan is taking responsibility because they know there would be a civil war if the American responsibility was known," said Ahmed, whose group is part of a six-party religious alliance opposed to President Perrvez Musharraf.

Ahmed also said that the assault killed 30 children as they were preparing for morning prayers.

Only three students of the Madarisa Zia-ul-Uloom Taleem-ul-Quran survived, while 80 others died, he said.

If there were rebels at the school, the Pakistani security forces could have easily arrested him, Ahmed said, adding that Pakistan should have condemned the U.S. for this aggression rather than claiming that it carried out the attack.

One correspondent said Monday's raid could hamper President Musharraf's efforts to rein in rebels or persuade tribal leaders to back his government.

The planned signing of a peace deal between tribal leaders and the military was canceled Monday in response to the air strike, he added.

Source: Al Jazeera Magazine

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16