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Pakistan - Condemnation of the assassination of human rights defenders

01 October 2002

Letter to H.E. General Pervaiz Musharraf, President of the Republic, 1 October 2002.

Your Excellency,

The World Council of Churches deplores the September 25th terrorist attack on the office of Idara-e-Amn-o-Insaf, Karachi in which seven of its Christian staff were ruthlessly gunned down at close quarters, after being blindfolded. This is the fourth in the series of such terrorist attacks that have targeted Christian churches, hospitals, schools and other institutions in Pakistan. In all these attacks precious innocent lives have been lost.

On October 29th 2001 in a letter addressed to Your Excellency, in the aftermath of the terrorist attack on St Dominic's Roman Catholic Church, the World Council of Churches while appreciating the manner in which the government had handled the crisis, asked that a judicial enquiry be held into the incident so that those found guilty could be brought to justice. Much to our dismay neither the culprits of the attack on St Dominic's church nor those involved in subsequent attacks at the hospital and school in Taxela and Murree have been arrested and brought to trial before a court of law.

The violent killings of the staff of Idara-e-Amn-o-Insaf are all the more deplorable because the organisation works for the poor and socially marginalised in Pakistan society, irrespective of their religious beliefs. It provides a platform for interreligious cooperation in the area of social justice and for promotion of human rights.

These recurring incidents of terrorist violence, you will no doubt agree, if allowed to go unchecked and unpunished will not only encourage those who indulge in such wanton acts of violence but will also tarnish the image of Pakistan. It is therefore necessary that law enforcement agencies in the country undertake all necessary steps to apprehend the perpetrators of these heinous crimes and bring their cases before courts of law for prosecution and judicious conclusion.

The World Council of Churches calls on Your Excellency's government to provide safety and security to the Christian minority in Pakistan.

                                                                                                                                     Respectfully yours,

                                                                                                                                     Dr Konrad Raiser
                                                                                                                                     General Secretary

    

Open letter to member churches and the National Council of Churches in Pakistan, 1 October 2002.

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,

The World Council of Churches has received with shock and profound distress the news of the terrorist attack on the office of Idara-e-Amn-o-Insaf, in Karachi in which seven of its staff were killed. This is the fourth in the series of terrorist attacks that have targeted Christian churches, hospital, school, and other institution in Pakistan. In all these attacks precious innocent lives have been lost. The Council is deeply disturbed by the present environment of religious rage and intolerance in the country that has given rise to such attacks. On October 29, 2001 in a letter addressed to President Pervez Musharraf, in the aftermath of the terrorist attack on St Dominic's Roman Catholic Church, the World Council of Churches expressed its concern about the safety and security of the Christian minority in the highly charged environment of religious intolerance. It called on the government to undertake all necessary measures to provide safety and security for the Christian minority in the country.

The violent killings of the staff of Idara-e-Amn-o-Insaf is all the more deplorable, because the organisation works for the poor and socially marginalised in Pakistan society, irrespective of their religious beliefs. The Idara-e-Amn-o-Insaf is an instrumentality of the church that not only manifests concern for involvement in social justice and human rights but also, provides a vision of a new and just society for all.

We take this opportunity to convey through you our condolences and sympathy for the families of the victims of the September 25th massacre. May our Lord's blessings be with the kith and kin and give them courage to bear this tragic loss. We vehemently condemn such senseless and wanton blood-letting of innocent people. These acts of violence that result in taking away of innocent human lives deserve to be denounced by all peace-loving people.

Be assured of our continuous prayers and solidarity with the Christians in Pakistan at this difficult time.

                                                                                                                                            Yours sincerely

Dr Konrad Raiser
General Secretary