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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Pakistan appeals for the release of embassy official in Iraq

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, April 10, IRNA
Pakistan on Sunday launched an appeal for the release of its embassy staff member, kidnapped last night in Baghdad.

"Pakistan appeals to the captors to release our embassy staffer on humanitarian grounds," Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed told a news conference in Islamabad.

Malik Mohammad Javed, a staff member in the Pakistani Embassy at Baghdad was kidnapped by a group when he went to offer prayers in a nearby mosque.

Pakistan Foreign Office said that persons claiming to be members of the Omar bin Khattab group have apparently kidnapped the official.

The minister said that the Iraqi ambassador in Islamabad was called to the Foreign Office on Sunday and was conveyed concern over the kidnapping.

Foreign Office said in a statement that the Iraqi ambassador assured that every possible attempt will be made to secure the safe release of the embassy staffer.

It said that Malik Javed contacted charge d'affaires in Baghdad and said that he is safe.

In July last year, insurgents kidnapped two other Pakistanis, Raja Azad an engineer, and Sajad Naeem, a driver in Iraq. Both were killed July 28. They were working for a Kuwaiti company in Iraq.

The kidnappers asked Pakistan to promise not to send troops to Iraq.

Despite requests by the United States, Pakistan has refused to send troops to Iraq.

In June of last year, Iraqi gunmen kidnapped and threatened to behead another Pakistani, Amjad Hafeez, but he was later freed.

Pakistan has asked its citizens not to travel to Iraq after the murder of its nationals in Iraq.

UN envoy to Iraq Ashraf Jahangir Qazi is a Pakistani national.

"We will neither withdraw our staff nor shut the mission," Sheikh Rashid told reporters.

::IRNA No.052 10/04/2005 20:01 --End

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