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    » 03/06/2009, 00.00

    PAKISTAN

    Sufi shrine bombed, in push to "Talibanize" Pakistan

    Qaiser Felix

    The memory of the poet Rehman Baba, a symbol of "peace and tolerance" for the entire country, has been profaned. Islamic extremists unleashed the violence because women were permitted free entry to the shrine. Today, the local population held a protest demonstration.

    Peshawar (AsiaNews) - The terrorist attack on the shrine of the Sufi poet Rehman Baba demonstrates the "kind of country" that "Taliban fanatics" want to make out of Pakistan. Even more serious is the fact that the shine was attacked "because it was open to women." In this way, there is a tendency toward "the deterioration of the level of security in the country." This is the cry of alarm issued by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), according to which the country runs the risk of progressive "Talibanization."

    Yesterday in Peshawar - capital of the North-West Frontier Province, on the border with Afghanistan - the Taliban bombed the shrine of the 17th-century Pashtun language Sufi poet, beloved all over the province and in neighboring Afghanistan. Rehman Baba is considered a symbol of peace and tolerance, and his writings are still studied today for their message of "love of God" and respect for neighbor. The explosion happened yesterday at 5:10 in the morning; the white marble shrine suffered serious damage, but there were no deaths or injuries.

    The HRCP recalls that Rehman Baba is an icon "not only of the Pashtun people, but of the whole of Pakistan," and that it is "ironic" that the shrine of a poet "revered for opposing oppression and advocating peace and tolerance had been targeted by militants."

    Local government sources say that in recent days, the Taliban issued a warning, demanding that women be banned from entering the shrine. According to the police, the mastermind of the attack is Mangal Bagh, head of the extremist movement Lashkar-e-Islam. Recently groups of men with long hair and beards had repeatedly visited the site of the attack.

    Today, the local population organized a demonstration to protest against the attack. Harsh condemnation is also coming from Pakistani prime minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, who is asking investigators for "in-depth investigations," so that those responsible "may be brought to justice."

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    See also

    27/02/2009 PAKISTAN
    "Islamic peace" in the Swat is a defeat for the rule of law
    The end of conflict could mark new persecutions of religious minorities and women. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan expresses "serious concern" and emphasizes that the agreement will have repercussions in the whole country.

    21/04/2009 PAKISTAN
    Archbishop of Lahore: Sharia in the Swat Valley is contrary to Pakistan's founding principles
    Archbishop Saldanha denounces the violation of minority and women's rights. The archbishop expresses his concern "in matters concerning criminal justice," and denounces abuses and violence by the Taliban toward Christian, Sikh, and Hindu places of worship and schools. The Catholic Church supports the Muttahida Quami Movement, the only party that has opposed the "forces of darkness."

    21/10/2008 KUWAIT
    Two female Kuwaiti ministers risk "dismissal" for not wearing the veil
    A parliamentary committee has decided that their attire, without the hijab, violates the constitution and the electoral law. The matter will now be submitted to a vote in parliament.

    18/12/2008 INDIA
    Indian bishops: violence against Christians in Orissa is terrorism
    The lower house of parliament has drafted an anti-terrorism law that does not satisfy the bishops' conference. According to the bishops, the attacks against ethnic or religious minorities are among the instances to be condemned. They are calling upon the government to revise the national security law of 1986.

    06/12/2008 PAKISTAN
    Catholic Church condemns attack in Peshawar
    A car bomb exploded yesterday night in a crowded bazaar, among people shopping before the upcoming feast of Eid. At least 27 dead and 100 injured. Investigations are underway. Archbishop Saldanha: "no religion permits terrorism."



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