ISLAMABAD, Aug 10: Various political leaders and civil body organizations have condemned the attack on a Taxila chapel in which three nurses were killed.

The chairman of Pakistan Christian Citizen Forum, Chaudhry Rasheed Farzand, in a statement here on Saturday, said it was a matter of sorrow that the terrorists were targeting minorities and sending wrong signals to the international community by giving an impression that certain misguided people did not want peace in Pakistan.

He asked President Gen Pervez Musharraf to announce compensation for the heirs of the victims.

The president, Qaumi Jamhoori Party (QJP), Air Marshal Mohammad Asghar Khan (retired), and the secretary general, Dr Zafar Mirza, in a statement here on Saturday, said the QJP was convinced that the attack on a worship place was a ghastly act of the enemies of Islam and Pakistan.

“Terrorism is completely alien to Islam‘s universal message of love and peace and protection to non-Muslims. It is also aimed at destabilizing Pakistan and creating an atmosphere of fear and mistrust among minorities about their security in their own country”, they said. They said the QJP was of a firm view that Pakistan had been and continued to be a victim of terrorism. The world community is under an obligation to stand by the people of Pakistan in their fight against all forms of violence, they added.

Asghar Khan and Dr Zafar Mirza said the government must rise to the occasion in fulfilling its fundamental duty of protecting the life and property of all citizens.

Our Staff Reporter from Rawalpindi adds: Representatives of six missionary organizations, Christian Study Centre (Rawalpindi), Human Development Centre (Toba Tek Singh), National Commission for Justice and Peace (Lahore), Organization for Peace and Justice (Karachi) and Justice and Peace Commission (Multan), in a joint press conference here on Saturday, expressed their concern over the continuing attacks on Christians, other minority communities and their missionary institutions in the country.

“We condemn such unwarranted attacks killing innocent people. People responsible for these attacks are enemies of humanity because no religion allows such killing,” Father Bonni Mandous told reporters.

He asked the government to arrested the attackers and give them exemplary punishment. These murderous attacks, he further said, had been continuing since the last year when Gen Musharaf supported the US in its war against terrorism.

Giving details, he said in October 2001, 16 people were killed when gunmen opened fire on a Catholic church in Bahawalpur; the Protestant International Church in Islamabad was made target of attack, killing five people including a US diplomat’s wife in March, this year; an attack outside the US consulate in Karachi left 11 people dead in June; four masked gunmen stormed the Murree Christian School and killed six people on August 5 and three days later, three men hurled grenades at Christian Hospital chapel in Taxila killing four worshippers.

He asked the government to provide security and protection to the Christian community.

Replying to a question, he said the Christians were tolerant to all these incidents so far and would not create any law and order situation. “But, we will be left with no other option but to resort to protests and demonstrations if these attacks were not stopped,” he said, adding these will be within the law.

PPI ADDS: The German ambassador in Pakistan, Dr Christopher Brummer, has condemned the terrorist attack on the Christian missionary hospital in Taxila.

Speaking at a function, he said, “we have been fed up with bad news about terrorists’ strikes on missionary hospitals and schools”. He hoped that with the holding of general elections on October 10 and transfer of power to an elected civilian government, there would be a crackdown on terrorists organizations.

Former NWFP chief minister and the chairman PPP (Sherpao), Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao, has also condemned the terrorist attack in Taxila.

In a statement, he deplored that cowardly attacks were made on places like missionary hospitals and schools respected in civilized society for their noble services and sanctity.

He regretted that terrorists were weakening very foundations of Pakistan and damaging Islam. He said Islam was religion of peace and it rejected terrorism and violence. Those who committed the crime of terrorism in missionary hospitals and schools have nothing to do with Islam, he added.

He asked the government to make all out efforts to nab and severely punish terrorists. He warned that such attacks sent wrong messages to the world about Muslims and Pakistan.

He appealed to the nation to jointly stand against terrorism and sectarianism and foil conspiracies of terrorists. He said if these attacks were acts of revenge from fundamentalists against President Gen Musharraf’s pro-US policy in Afghanistan, then national security agencies should wage an open war on terrorists.

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