By Jawad Mazhar,  BosNewsLife Special Correspondent reporting from Pakistan

Christian aid workers have tried to bring aid to Swat Valley despite the dangers, earlier this year. Via MSN News
Christian aid workers have tried to bring aid to Swat Valley despite the dangers, earlier this year. Via MSN News

LAHORE , PAKISTAN (BosNewsLife)– Pakistan’s military on Thursday, May 14, continued pounding suspected positions of the militant Taliban group, which investigators say has created an atmosphere of hatred towards Christians and other religious minorities.

The fighting in Pakistan’s troubled Swat Valley came amid reports that Islamic extremists have threatened Christians, jailed rights investigator Hector Aleem, 51, who was denied bail for his own safety April 30 after an Islamist lawyer threatened his life in a court hearing, observers of the trial said.

Aleem, who was detained in January, has been accused of blasphemy against Islam, charges his supporters have strongly denied. Rights groups say militants have been emboldened by the Taliban to follow strict interpretation of Islam in several areas of the country including in Punjab Province.


Sikh and Christian protesters have taken to the streets in Punjab’s key city of Lahore, saying they would not surrender to “the Taliban radical clerics, who wish to enact their own kind of Shariah”, or Islamic law, Worthy News and its news partner BosNewsLife learned.

A former federal minister for Information and Broadcasting Sherry Rehman, who supports the protests, also said that “extortion demands” by “Taliban radical Islamic fighters, from Christians and Sikhs is a criminal act” and needs “to be addressed seriously.”

She condemned the demand of ‘Jaziya’, a special tax imposed by Taliban war-lords, saying “Christians, Sikhs and all other religious Minorities are equal citizen of Pakistan and therefore they have equal rights.”

However rights groups say a crackdown on the Taliban in the strategic Swat Valley and nearby areas is key to prevent what they view as the “Talibanization’ of Pakistan.”


Yet, the United Nations and other organizations have expressed concerns over the growing number of refugees fleeing bombardments and shooting in the troubled region, including injured children, who in some cases saw family members die in front of their eyes.

The UN has said it had so far registered over 500,000 people who have fled the fighting in the Swat valley and neighboring districts since May 2. Of these, about 73,000 are staying in temporary camps, while the others are with relatives or friends, according to United Nations estimates.

The military has intensified efforts to wrest control of the Swat valley and neighboring districts from Taliban gunmen as Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan, defended requests to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for further financial aid to Pakistan, news reports said.

Pakistan’s military says it has killed over 750 militants since the operation began on April 26 against insurgents who reneged on a peace accord and advanced toward the capital.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here