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  • » 01/05/2008, 00.00

    PAKISTAN

    Taleban kidnap 5 Christians in Pakistan

    Qaiser Felix

    The kidnappers are from militias linked to Taleban commander Baitullah Mehsud, accused by Islamabad of being behind Bhutto’s assassination. Conditions of release a prisoner Exchange with key militants. But the Justice and Peace commission warns: it is premature to speak of a reason for the kidnap; it could just be a way to divert people’s attention.

    Islamabad (AsiaNews) – Suspected militants associated with Taliban Commander Baitullah Mehsud kidnapped five Christians in South Waziristan, on Pakistan’s southern border with Afghanistan.   The authorities confirmed the episode today.  The victims were on route from Wana to Dera Ismail Khan when armed militants stopped their vehicle. They were identified as Altaf Masih, Babar Masih and Emmanuel while names of two other Christians could not be ascertained. The militants made the release of Christians conditional with the freeing of six prominent tribal militants now in custody of law-enforcement agencies. One of them, identified as Commander Raees Khan Mahsud. According to the daily paper The News, The other five were said to be very important militant commanders of Baitullah Mahsud. The Taliban commander is the same militant leader who was accused by the Musharraf government for assassinating Pakistan’s former Prime Minister and head of Pakistan Peoples Party on December 27, in events still to be clarified.

    Peter Jacob, executive secretary of Catholic Church’s human rights body, National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) condemned the kidnapping, but added “it is premature now to say what is the real purpose behind this kidnapping” of the 5 Christians. Speaking to AsiaNews he refers that according to recent Ncjp surveys which show that in the North Western Province and tribal areas, there is a threat to religious freedom and Christians face death threats from some of smaller militant groups.

    “But at this time – he warns - the kidnapping of five Christians in that area may be an attempt to divert the attention of people as government had already accused them for killing Ms Bhutto”.

     

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    See also

    15/11/2007 PAKISTAN
    Countdown for democracy in Islamabad
    After five years pro-Musharraf National Assembly is dissolved at the stroke of midnight tonight. Elections are scheduled for January 9 but arrests and human rights violations continue throughout the country. Justice and Peace Commission calls for a return to constitutional rule and an independent judiciary.

    26/06/2008 PAKISTAN
    Stop executions to honour Bhutto, Pakistani PM says
    Pakistan’s prime minister is set to ask President Musharraf for an act of clemency on Benazir Bhutto’s birthday, commuting all death sentences into life in prison. Radical Muslims are opposed. The Church is in favour but wants to go one step further and have the death sentence abolished altogether, not single acts of mercy.

    26/09/2009 PAKISTAN
    All students in Pakistan’s schools required to study Islam
    The Commission for Justice and Peace of the Church of Pakistan criticizes the new guidelines for public education. Concern for the civics books that offer only the Islamic point of view.

    23/01/2008 PAKISTAN
    New communications law, new tool for censorship
    A month from the elections Pakistan’s caretaker government issues an ordinance that imposes the death penalty or life in prison for cyber crimes. But the text of the law is so vague that sending a simple e-mail might be construed as a crime.

    05/05/2008 PAKISTAN
    Church launches workshop in Lahore to train for peace
    The National Commission for Justice and Peace inaugurates a peace education programme that brings together Christians and Muslims to give dialogue a chance after years of violence clashes.



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