ASIA/PAKISTAN - Assault on a university: churches and civil society against terrorism

Wednesday, 20 January 2016 terrorism   islam  

Peshawar (Agenzia Fides) – A group of Islamist Taliban militants stormed a university in northwestern Pakistan this morning, killing indiscriminately students and professors, in classrooms and hostels. After the intervention of the police force, the provisional toll of victims is 30, including four terrorists and more than 60 injured. The attack, claimed by the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) group, the so-called "Pakistani Taliban", comes one year after the attack on the military school which in December 2014 killed more than 150 people in Peshawar, mainly children. The TTP has warned that more attacks will be carried out in universities, colleges and schools, mainly belonging to the army.
Samule Pervaiz Asghar, archdeacon of the Anglican Church in Peshawar, told Fides: "Terrorism is a scourge in Pakistan and around the world. We are shocked and speechless. We condemn this senseless violence. As Christians we are people seeking to build peace and harmony in society. We are convinced that this is our mission in Pakistan. We also use the weapon of prayer: we also pray for the terrorists, may God enlighten their minds, so that they abandon violence against innocent people".
"It is a tragic event especially for the choice of soft targets, such as schools and universities and military bases" adds to Fides Ghulam Dastagir, journalist and intellectual in Peshawar, member of the NGO "Human Rights Commission of Pakistan". The choice is significant: "It symbolically intendes to hit an educational institution: in the past the Taliban in the region had already destroyed more than 400 schools. Today they seek visibility" he explains. According to Dastagir, "it is an internal matter for Pakistan and not linked to the Islamic State (IS): the TTP have not claimed responsibility for strategic or ideological commonality with the IS, although it is conceivable they may do it in the future". To combat terrorism, he concludes, "we need a more effective strategy from the state. Civil society, churches, religious institutions can provide support with peaceful marches, prayer vigils, with a work of cultural awareness. But a real answer depends on the government". (PA) (Agenzia Fides 20/01/2016)