» 11/10/2007, 00.00
Another attack on the giant Buddha of Swat
In the valley of Swat, north western Pakistan, Islamic militants have launched a second attack in less than a month on the gigantic sacred statue. The head, shoulders and feet have been destroyed while the militants threaten a third and final attack.
Islamabad (AsiaNews) – A group of Islamic militants have attacked for the second time in less than a month the giant Buddha carved in the rocks of Swat Valley, in north western Pakistan.
Despite the many requests for greater protection, the government has failed to intervene in any way to defend the 40 metre tall statue, the second only in importance to the already destroyed Bamiyan Buddha.
The first attack, due to the extremists inexperience, had not caused irreparable damage, but this second one has destroyed the face, shoulders and feet of the sacred image. At the moment, the militants threaten a third and final assault.
Vishakha N. Desai, president of the Asia Society writes: “In 2001, The world watched in horror when Taliban forces destroyed the monumental Buddha statues in Bamiyan, Afghanistan. Political and cultural leaders from around the globe condemned the attacks. And yet in Pakistan the same disaster is repeated unpunished”.
The Swat Valley is considered a sort of “dam” between the northern reaches of the country, theatre of numerous clashes between pro-tale ban forces and the army. Currently, thanks to the state of emergency proclaimed by president Musharraf November 3rd last, it has been deprived of protection.
Swat Valley: Catholics pray for peace as the country faces an exodus of Biblical proportions
Unanimously Christians, Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs condemn Taliban violence. In Faisalabad bishop leads a prayer vigil for peace. The number of refugees could reach 1.5 million. Some 60 Christian families find refuge in Peshawar.
Suicide bomb on Peshawar hotel, 15 dead more than 70 injured
Two UN employees among the victims. 500 kgs of explosives packed on board the car. No one has so far claimed responsibility for the attack, Taliban suspected. Pakistan’s President and premier condemn the bombing and reiterate “all out war” on terrorism.
Boy wounded in Taliban attack near Karachi dies
Irfan Masih, 11, succumbed to gunshot wounds he suffered to the head. Five other people were also injured in the attack during which Islamists set fire on Christian homes and Bibles. Activists complain about police inaction.
Whipping 17-yr girl a “barbaric act”, anger against Taliban mounts
Protests and demonstrations against Islamic fundamentalist madness are organised in many Pakistani cities. Supreme Court starts hearing to determine who is responsible for whipping the young woman, who refuses to testify fearing retaliations. Extremists reject accusation, claiming the video is a “fake”
Bishops call on Pakistanis to stand with fellow Christians, against extremists
Official statement of the Bishops' Conference (PCBC), signed by Mgr. Joseph Coutts, Archbishop of Karachi. The provincial and federal government must "take effective measures to provide security to the churches of Pakistan, so as to guarantee freedom of religion and worship". Card. Oswald Gracias tells AsiaNews: "May the blood of these innocent bear fruit of mutual tolerance between Christians and Muslims in Pakistan."
Card. Tong’s article on China-Holy See dialogue, arouses joy and dismay
The Hong Kong bishop’s optimism over a change in the method of appointing bishops and the function of the Patriotic Association. But it is unclear whether it is real change or just nominal, in words. Underground bishops are patriotic and love their country, but the Party is suspicious of them. Freedom in episcopal appointments is “essential", but the bishops are not free to exercise their ministry. Patriotic bishops controlled in their visits with members of the universal Church. The "bugs" (hidden microphones) in a bishop’s office.
Card. Tong: The future of Sino-Vatican dialogue from an ecclesiological point of view
Card. John Tong
The Hong Kong Cardinal outlines the steps that hope to propel dialogue between China and the Holy See. Themes include the Pope's role in the appointment of bishops; A change of vision in the Patriotic Association; the possible integration of the underground bishops in the Episcopal Conference. A new article by card. John Tong, following a previous article published a few months ago on "Communion of the Church in China with the universal Church."
13/02/2017 CHINA - VATICAN
14/02/2017 UNITED NATIONS - SYRIA
15/02/2017 LEBANON - VATICAN
AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!
AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.