Sunday, June 24, 2007
Muslims kidnap Chinese
Muslims kidnap Chinese
Radical students in Pak kidnap Chinese for 'unislamic' acts
Radical students in Pak kidnap Chinese for 'unislamic' acts23 Jun, ISLAMABAD: Militant madrassa students kidnapped 12 persons, including nine Chinese, from a massage parlour in the Pakistani capital for "un-Islamic acts" resulting in a fresh stand-off with the government which declared "they have exceeded all limits" and it "retains all options".
A top Chinese diplomat visited the parlour from where the Chinese nationals, six women and three men, were kidnapped late last night and took details of the incident which is bound to raise a diplomatic dust-up as it came ahead of bilateral talks where Beijing was to raise the issue of security of its nationals.
Police said the 12 persons were kidnapped by boys and girls studying in madrassas administered by the Lal Masjid mosque whose radical clerics have spearheaded a campaign for imposition of strict Islamic law in the capital and unleashed moral policing.
Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Luo Zhaohui spoke with some of the abducted Chinese nationals over phone following the intervention the chief of ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Q, (PML-Q), Shujaat Hussain.
The clerics on Saturday promised to release the hostages after "sensitising" them with some "moral lessons". The mosque's administrator, Maulana Abdul Rashid Ghazi, told reporters here they do not intend to keep the hostages "for long" and they would be released in a "day or two".
Ghazia alleged that employees at the parlour were involved in prostitution. "The women massaging men itself is un-Islamic," he said.
The Pakistani government, which preferred to negotiate with the militant students, who carried out similar kidnappings in the past, described it as "a shocking and unlawful act."
"In there unlawful activities over the past several months they have now exceeded all limits and are bent upon continuing their illegal campaign despite utmost patience and tolerance shown by the authorities in a bid to wean them away from the dangerous path," a statement issued by the Interior Ministry in Islamabad on Saturday.
The Islamabad Administration is in contact with Lal Masjid Administration to secure the release of abductees, it said.
Demanding immediate release of all hostages, it said "the Lal Masjid administration would be entirely responsible if any harm comes to these abductees.
"The government retains all options and shall take appropriate measures to ensure the safety and security of the inhabitants of Islamabad."
Pakistan shares close ties with China and thousands of nationals of the communist nation run restaurants and parlours in Islamabad.
Some reports here said that Chinese officials conveyed their disappointment to Pakistan government over the incident. Asked about the effect of the incident on the close and friendly relations between China and Pakistan, the Lal Masjid cleric said "we do respect Pakistan-China relationship. We appreciate it. Friendship does not mean that their women should come here and involve in such kind of activities."
Ghazi said "it applies to both sides. Friendship does not mean that our people should go to China and involve in such illegal activities."