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Pakistan's president promises protection to religious minorities

Catholic bishops and leaders of other minority religions met with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, who promised to protect the communities from violence at the hands of Islamic extremists.

Musharraf requested Tuesday's meeting to lessen fears among minority believers that they could be victims of violence as tensions increased following air strikes against neighbouring Afghanistan.

Archbishop Lawrence Saldanha of Lahore, chairman of the bishops' Justice and Peace Commission, told Catholic News Service that Musharraf promised religious leaders he would do all in his power to protect members of minority religions, threatened by Islamic fundamentalists after Pakistan granted the use of its air space to the United States for bombing Afghanistan.