Thousands of civilians are being displaced from the Swat Valley region in Pakistan. The Pakistani army has recently engaged Taliban Islamists and claims to have killed scores of militants in fierce fighting.
Pakistan has urged residents of the Swat Valley to leave, while its warplanes have pounded the Taliban-held valley and surrounding areas. The prime minister has called this a ‘war of the country’s survival’.
Hundreds of thousands of civilians have sought refuge with relatives or relief camps. Many of those camps were already filled with Pakistanis displaced from previous army operations.
Press reports say Taliban militants have murdered two Christians in Karachi. The Pakistan Christian Post reports that more than 100 masked Taliban with machine guns attacked the Christian colony in Taiser Town on 21 April. They dragged out two Christians and shot them, execution-style, in front of their families.
Karachi is Pakistan’s biggest city, its main seaport and the nation’s financial capital. It is also the capital of the province of Sindh, making the city a significant target for the Taliban.
Release International serves persecuted Christians worldwide. ‘This is another deeply worrying development for Christians in Pakistan’, said Release chief executive Andy Dipper.
‘We are witnessing the dire consequence for Christians as the Taliban seeks to extend its influence, by force, in the biggest city in Pakistan. The government must act now to safeguard the freedom of all its citizens from armed extremists’.