By Jawad Mazhar, BosNewsLife News Special Correspondent reporting from Pakistan with BosNewsLife’s Stefan J. Bos reporting from BosNewsLife News Center in Budapest

pakistan_190ISLAMABAD/BUDAPEST (BosNewsLife)– Poland confirmed Monday, February 9, the authenticity of video footage showing the beheading in Pakistan of a Polish engineer abducted over four months ago by Islamic militants linked to the groups Taliban and possibly Al-Qaeda.

Piotr Stanczak’s death would appear to be the first killing of a Western hostage in Pakistan since Daniel Pearl, a Wall Street Journal reporter, was beheaded in 2002.

It was also expected to add to concerns among minority Christians living in the restive North West Frontier Province (NWFP) of Pakistan, who have complained of growing Islamic extremism directed against them.

In a statement released by Polish radio, Polish Foreign Affairs Minister Radosław Sikorski said  footage of  Stanczak’s execution reached the Polish embassy in Islamabad and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs late Sunday, February 8.


The seven-minute video appears to show the engineer, Piotr Stanczak, sitting on the floor flanked by two masked men. Off camera, a militant briefly engages him in conversation before three others behead him, according to reporters who saw the footage. One of the hooded men then addresses the camera, blaming Pakistan for the execution because “it had not agreed to demands” to release Taliban prisoners.

“We held a meeting last Friday, February 6 [seen by Muslims as an Islamic holy day of the week] to consider it and the majority of the members of Shura [the Islamic jury] viewed that there should be no more time given to negotiations,”, said Sohail Ahmed, a representative of ‘Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)’, in another statement obtained by BosNewsLife. “The beheading took place late Friday night.”

However the killing has also been linked to the apparent refusal of Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk to pay a ransom. Tusk told reporters however that the government “has undertaken all possible measures to secure the release of the hostage,” and he expressed “solidarity” with family members of the killed hostage, Polish radio reported. “We had used all political, operational, logistical means to prevent this tragedy,” he said earlier.

It was unclear when and if the body of the killed hostage will be transferred to family members for a funeral. Militants have reportedly demanded that at least some fellow fighters will be freed from prison before the man’s body is released. Other reports suggest the Taliban demand an equivalent of $2,500 dollars in exchange for the human remains.


Piotr Stanczak, worked for worked for a Polish geophysics firm under contract with a Pakistani state oil company when the kidnapping took place.

Armed men reportedly pulled Stanczak from his car on September 28 after killing three Pakistanis traveling with him near the city of Attock in northwestern Pakistan,a lawless region believed to be a possible hiding place for Osama bin Laden and other Qaeda leaders.

A few days after the kidnapping, he appeared in a video appealing for the release of Taliban militants.They had initially threatened to kill him on February 4, but later extended the deadline for two more days.

The killing followed increased attacks against foreigners and Pakistan’s minority Christians in the region, who Islamic militants view as supporters of the United States-led war on terrorism and observing a Western religion.


Besides kidnappings, Pakistani Christians have endured attacks against institutions, including schools and churches, BosNewsLife established.

John Solecki, an American official with a United Nations refugee agency,  seized last week in Quetta, in Baluchistan Province, as he was traveling to work, is among among others being kidnapped. His driver was shot to death.

Wazir Khan Nasir, the chief investigator in Quetta, told reporters that a previously unknown ethnic Baluch separatist group calling itself the Baluchistan Liberation United Front has claimed responsibility. Their  demands have not yet been revealed. (BosNewsLife’s NEWS WATCH is a regular look at key news developments impacting the Church and compassionate professionals).


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