Cleric Ghazi died as son was born

Islamabad, July 14:

The wife of slain Red Mosque cleric Abdul Rashid Ghazi gave birth to a baby boy at the same time her husband was killed in a commando raid in the Pakistani capital, the Geo News television channel reported today.

The mosque’s deputy administrator had sent his wife, Humaira Ghazi, to her brother’s home before security forces laid siege to the central mosque and religious seminary complex on July 3, the channel said, citing sources close to the cleric’s family. The infant was named Abdul Rashid Ghazi in tribute to his father, who died with dozens of heavily armed militants in the complex after months of confrontation with the government

over his demands for enforcement of strict Islamic law in the country.

Ghazi was killed on Tuesday when commandos stormed the compound at dawn after the breakdown of negotiations between the rebels and authorities.

Supported by thousands of Islamist students, Ghazi and his elder brother, Abdul Aziz, took on the government of President Pervez Musharraf six months ago over the demolition of illegal mosques in the capital Islamabad.

Encouraged by the cautious reaction of authorities, the clerics embarked upon an anti-vice campaign that grew critical in late June with their abduction of seven Chinese nationals, including six women, for alleged prostitution. Ghazi was buried on Thursday before hundreds of mourners in his home village in the Punjab province. His brother, who was arrested trying to flee the mosque in disguise during the siege, was allowed to attend the ceremony.