27 November, 2014 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter | Mobile





mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 05/15/2009
PAKISTAN
Swat Valley: Catholics pray for peace as the country faces an exodus of Biblical proportions
by Qaiser Felix
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.

Faisalabad (AsiaNews) – Pakistan Catholics are praying for peace in the Swat Valley and safety for the refugees fleeing fighting between the army and the Taliban. Muslims, Christians, Hindus and Sikhs have condemned the violence by Islamic extremists whilst the country tries to cope with the largest mass exodus in its history.

Last week the Pakistani government launched what it described as a “final offensive” against Islamist militias holed up in the Swat Valley, blaming them for breaking a peace deal that enabled them to introduce Sharia in the area in exchange for a ceasefire.

Since Islamic law was implemented the extremists began a violent campaign of persecution against minorities, summarily executing people, blowing up girls’ schools and women’s institutions.

At present, thousands of people have abandoned Mingora, the Swat Valley’s main town, as well as the neighbouring districts of Kanju and Kabal, after the army lifted a curfew.

Army sources reported 124 militants and nine soldiers killed in the past 24 hours. That would take the death toll to 870 militants and 45 soldiers. However, this could not be independently verified.

In the meantime Pakistan’s Catholic community is mobilising in favour of peace. Yesterday more than hundred Catholic women took part in a peace vigil in Faisalabad led by the local bishop, Mgr Joseph Coutts, and Fr Nisar Barkat, director of the National Commission for Justice and Peace.

Although “prayers are key” for peace, it is important “to condemn extremism,” the prelate said

When the vigil was over Catholic leaders issued a statement calling on the government to end the military operation as soon as and to help those displaced by the fighting.

Activists and civil society groups are organising themselves in a sign that civil society is not asleep but is wide awake, raising its voice against he Talibanisation of Pakistan, the bishop noted.

Mgr Coutts added that he recently attended a meeting organised by NGOs that invited people of different faiths. Christians, Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs were present and together they strongly condemned the Taliban and backed the military in its struggle for peace.

The ongoing displacement of people is the largest since Pakistan was founded in 1947.

According to the United Nations agency for refugees about 834,000 internally displaced persons have been registered so far after they fled violence in the Swat Valley, but if the fighting continues the total number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) could top 1.5 million.

For the UN agency around US$ 5 billion are needed to rehabilitate IDPs in a process that could take up to five years.

Among the refugees there are some 60 Christian families who fled Taliban persecution following the introduction of Sharia.

They are currently housed at a shelter set up in Rasalpur, near Peshawar, capital of the North-West Frontier Province.


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
05/25/2009 PAKISTAN
Pakistani Christians to fast and pray for peace in Swat Valley
by Qaiser Felix
04/06/2009 PAKISTAN
Whipping 17-yr girl a “barbaric act”, anger against Taliban mounts
by Qaiser Felix
05/22/2008 PAKISTAN
Government strikes a deal with Taliban, Sharia to be enforced in the northern part of the country
03/24/2009 PAKISTAN
In Taliban-controlled Swat Valley no more NGOs or polio vaccination for children
by Qaiser Felix
05/08/2009 PAKISTAN
Taliban a threat to the whole country, Pakistani PM says
by Qaiser Felix

Editor's choices
IRAQ - ITALY
Letter from Archbishop of Mosul: Thank you for your aid, supporting the plight of refugees
by Amel NonaThe donations made through the "Adopt a Christian from Mosul" campaign are used to buy food, warm clothes, blankets for refugees and rent houses or caravans given the early onset of winter and. Two women have defended their Christian faith before the Islamist militants who wanted to convert them, despite the threat of death. A refugee among refugees, Msgr. Nona discovers a new way of being a pastor.
IRAQ - ITALY
Almost 700,000 euros raised as the 'Adopt a Christian from Mosul' campaign continues
by Bernardo CervelleraA second instalment is sent with funds raised in September. The fate of East-West relations is being played out in the Middle East and Iraq. Pope Francis and the Synod issue an appeal. Governments are lukewarm. Aid is coming from around the world. A new international community is defeating the "globalisation of indifference."
IRAQ-VATICAN
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul": Archbishops’ thanks as first aid arrives
by Amel NonaMsgr. Amel Nona, the Chaldean Archbishop of Mosul, who is also a refugee himself, thanks all the donors to the AsiaNews campaign. The situation is increasingly difficult given the huge number of refugees and the arrival of winter and snow, making outdoor shelters and tents impossible. The crisis, an occasion that activates the faith of Christians.

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.