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Pak man turns to Taliban for aid

Peshawar, Dec. 16 (Reuters): Frustrated with the government’s inability to help him, a man in Pakistan has appealed to Taliban warlords to rescue his 11-year-old son kidnapped by criminals more than a month ago.

“I knocked on the door of each and every government official but no one gave me justice to recover my only son,” Fareed Khan told Reuters in the volatile northwestern city of Peshawar.

“Now the Taliban are my last hope. I believe they will recover my son. The Taliban are good Muslims and good human beings. They don’t demand bribes for the provision of justice.”

Most people in Pakistan’s insurgency-plagued northwestern regions live in fear of Taliban insurgents who stage frequent attacks against security forces and civilians as part of their campaign to topple central government and impose Islamist rule.

Khan, 45, said he had no other choice in his quest to rescue his son, Furqan Fareed, who was kidnapped on November 5 in the city of Bannu. Bannu is near North Waziristan, an ethnic Pashtun region on the Afghan border where many al Qaida-linked Taliban fighters are based. State security forces have next to no presence there.

Government officials were not available for comment.

Khan said his son suffered from epilepsy and feared that he might die. He added:“Now my wife, my three daughters and I publicly appeal to the Pakistani Taliban to recover my son.”

Shia cleric killed

A prominent Shia cleric has been shot dead in what Taliban militants said was a reprisal attack for the killing of Sunnis a month ago. Sectarian violence has been on the rise in Pakistan, adding to the list of concerns for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Allama Nasir Abbas, leader of Tehreek Nifaz Fiqah-e-Jafaria, a banned Shia organisation, was shot by gunmen on a motorbike as he drove home after addressing a religious gathering in Lahore last evening.

“It’s a targeted attack. The gunmen shot him from close range when he was driving home along with his driver and a friend,” Lahore police chief Chaudhry Shafeeq told Reuters. “Abbas died on the way to hospital. His driver and friend were unhurt.”

The Pakistani Taliban, who are Sunni militants, claimed responsibility, saying the killing was revenge for an attack in the city of Rawalpindi in which eight Sunnis were killed a month ago.

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