Sakset/Fra hofta

En medvirkende årsak til at Musharraf endelig bestemte seg for å ryddde opp i Den røde moskeen, var at Taliban-tilhengerne gikk til angrep på en kinesisk massasjesalong og bortførte seks kinesere.

Det likte Beijing svært dårlig. Kina har investert betydelige beløp i Pakistan: i en ny dypvannshavn i Baluchistan, og i Karakorum-motorveien. Historien forteller noe om at kineserne ikke lar seg pelle på nesen.

Abdul Rashid Ghazi, the strategist and brains behind the Taliban-inspired movement that has taken over the Pakistani capital in recent months, may have overplayed his hand. On June 23, just after midnight, a squad of Islamist vigilantes set out from Ghazi’s Lal Masjid, or «Red Mosque,» in the direction of a Chinese massage parlor across town. Ghazi claims that the women inside were providing massages to men (a jihadi no-no) and performing other «un-Islamic activities.» When his bearded, bamboo-staff-wielding shock troops arrived, they overpowered three security guards and took nine people hostage, including six Chinese women. That same day, the women were released, albeit significantly more clothed, in their new, Lal Masjid-supplied black burqas, than when they had arrived.

But the Chinese government, which has invested hundreds of millions of dollars into building and upgrading the Pakistani port in Gwadar, Baluchistan, as well as the Karakorum Highway, wasn’t willing to overlook the kidnapping so easily. In Beijing, a Chinese official told Pakistan’s visiting minister of the interior, «We hope Pakistan will look into the terrorist attacks aiming at Chinese people … and will severely punish the criminals.» Beijing’s ambassador to Islamabad told the press he was, «shocked and surprised at such an unlawful incident.» One can assume that he used a much harsher tone in closed-door meetings, because within a few days of the masseuses’ release, police and paramilitary units had encircled the mosque and pledged to crack down on the neo-Taliban.

Musharraf clashes with Islamists in Pakistan.