S.Korean envoy meets Pak religious leader to help hostages release

S. Korean envoy Jooseok held a meeting with an influential Pak religious leader to seek his help in securing the safe release of 21 hostages held in Afghanistan

S.Korean envoy meets Pak religious leader to help hostages release

South Korean envoy in Islamabad Kim Jooseok held a meeting with an influential Pakistani religious leader to seek his help in securing the safe release of 21 hostages held in Afghanistan, media reports said Wednesday.

The ambassador called on the chief of religious party Jamiat Ulma-e-Islam, Maulana Fazal ur Rehman, in Islamabad on Tuesday and asked him to play a key role in the release of the South Korean hostages, newspaper Daily Express said.

Rehman's Islamist party, that forms the government in North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) bordering Afghanistan, is believed to have some influence over the Taliban insurgents who seized 18 South Korean women and five men, all members of the Saemmul Community Church, on July 19 in the southern province of Ghazni.

Two of the hostages have so far been murdered after the expiry of Taliban-set deadlines for the release of their comrades from Afghan jails and the withdrawal of 200 Korean troops from Afghanistan. The Taliban have set a new deadline of Wednesday.

Rehman assured the Korean envoy that he would play his role in the early and safe release of the hostages.

However, he asked Jooseok to persuade his government to withdraw its armed contingents from Afghanistan so that the way for a peaceful resolution of the hostage crisis could be achieved.

"The majority of the hostages are women, and women should never be made prisoners of war, nor does Islam allow such acts," Rehman said, and appealed for the immediate release of the hostages on humanitarian grounds.

The meeting came days after Jooseok met another Pakistani leader, Maulana Sami-ul-Haq, in Islamabad and requested him to intervene in the matter. Haq runs Madrassa Haqania and several other seminaries in NWFP, where many of the Taliban leaders have studied.

The South Korean embassy, when contacted, declined to comment on the report of either of the meetings.

DPA

Last Mod: 01 Ağustos 2007, 16:58
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