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Australian Catholic Social Justice Council shocked by Pakistan shootings


The Australian Bishops' social justice agency has had strong links with the Pakistan Justice and Peace Commission which lost seven staff members in last week's shooting incident.

ACSJC Chairman Bishop William Morris on Friday issued a statement of solidarity with the Institute for Justice and Peace, known as IDARA, in Karachi, Pakistan.

Gunmen raided the offices of the Justice and Peace Commission in Karachi, rounded up staff members and then shot them one by one, according to police.

Members of the ACSJC and Secretariat visited IDARA in 2001, and contact has been maintained, ensuring that the ACSJC has been kept informed of events in Pakistan.

Bishop Morris said that IDARA has been working for the rights of the poorest sections of Pakistan society for the last 30 years. He paid tribute to its work for the poor "regardless of race or religion".

"The ACSJC expresses its sympathy to the families of the victims of the shooting and to the staff and supporters of IDARA," he said. "Let us pray for an end to violence in Pakistan and for a peace that will enable all people of goodwill to work together towards a just society in Pakistan."


MOURNERS GATHER FOR FUNERALS OF VICTIMS

Wearing black arm and headbands and carrying black flags, thousands of mourners gathered on Saturday for the funerals of two victims of a massacre of seven Christians in the Pakistani city of Karachi.

Hundreds of police escorted around a 1000 mourners as they carried the wooden coffin of Benjamin Talib to a funeral service at a Catholic church in Akhtar Colony, one of the poorest neighborhoods in the sprawling port city.

Talib was one of the seven Christian Pakistanis killed in an attack by two gunmen on the office of a Christian charity in the city center on Wednesday.

Female relatives wailed besides his open casket, his white shroud littered with rose petals.

"We are dismayed, grieved and sad. We don't have any option except patience," the Catholic Bishop of Karachi Salamat Khokhar of Karachi told mourners inside the church.

The shooting was the seventh major attack on Christian or Western targets in predominantly Muslim Pakistan in the past year. The attacks have claimed more than 60 lives.

LINKS
8 Catholic Justice Commission staff shot dead in Pakistan

SOURCE
ACSJC/Reuters


30 Sep 2002