'The Taliban will stop at nothing now,' Pakistan prelate says
"What happened was a sign of desperation. The Taliban are prepared to carry out brutal attacks, killing school children, shooting them in the head.They will stop at nothing now."
YORK—All Pakistanis are at risk of terrorist attacks today, a
leading Catholic prelate said in response to the Dec. 16 Taliban attack on the Peshawar
school that killed 148, most of them children.
Joseph Coutts of Karachi charged that the Taliban “will stop at nothing now” to
harm people. The president of the Pakistani bishops’ conference, speaking from
Karachi with international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, said
that the threat to schools, hospitals, churches, mosques and other public
places had grown and that tighter security was crucial.
Coutts said: “What happened was a sign of desperation. The Taliban are prepared
to carry out brutal attacks, killing school children, shooting them in the
head. They will stop at nothing now.
[security services] should be increasing security in public places. We are
dealing here with people who have no conscience. It is just blind hatred.”
that the attack on Peshawar was the Taliban’s response to Pakistan military
offences in the Khyber region and North Waziristan, regions close to the Afghan
border, Archbishop Coutts said: “The Taliban want to show [the military] that
they can hit the [army’s] children and all their families. Their message is:
‘We can get you in your own territory.’”
the archbishop said that the Peshawar massacre was not a sign of the Taliban’s
growing military might. “I don’t think it was a show of strength. It is more
likely to be a last ditch attempt to show what they can do,” he said
archbishop has called on Church communities to “celebrate Christmas in a sober
manner as a mark of respect for all victims of terror attacks.” In a formal
statement, he added: “On the birthday of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, all
Christians must pray fervently for peace.
is the duty of every Christian to be a promoter of peace, reconciliation,
harmony and unity … work[ing] together with fellow citizens [so] that Pakistan
may be free from the scourge of violence and terrorism.”
appealed to his faithful to pray not only for those killed in this week’s
tragedy but also for other Taliban victim, including the 127 people killed
during the September 2013 attack on All Saints’ Church in Peshawar.
Coutts also urged people to pray for brick kiln workers Shama Bibi, 24, and
Sajjad Maseeh, 27, the young Christian couple burned to death earlier this
month after being accused of blaspheming Islam.
said: “It is very important for us to know that there are others praying for
us, wanting to help us, wanting to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with us in faith.
spite of all our difficulties, we find a lot of strength in the prayers of all
those who are concerned for us and I thank everybody who is remembering us,
especially at this time of great tragedy and sadness.”
ACN photo: Archbishop Coutts