Pakistan principal links US bombing to attacks on Christians

03 December 2008

by Bill Bowder

BOMBING RAIDS by the United States on a province in Pakistan have been linked by a college principal to a rocket attack on a church school, the murder of a Christian teacher, and death threats to worshippers attending Christmas services.

The Revd Dr David Gosling, the Principal of Edwardes College, at the University of Peshawar, said on Wednesday: “The churches and their in­stitutions are hostages for the killing of civilians in the border areas.”

The Rt Revd Manowar Rumal­shah, Bishop of Peshawar, received a letter this week warning that, if Christmas services were held, they would be “suicide-bombed”.

“This is not exactly glad tidings,” Dr Gosling said. But it should be seen in the context of the escalating US bombing in the border region, he said, in which “Britain was complicit”.

He described a rocket attack by militants on a church school in Bannu as a reaction to a US drone attack 70 kilometres inside the North-West Frontier Province. “Two weeks ago the US bombed near Bannu, deep inside the province, and three hours drive from here.

“Six rockets were immediately fired on a church school in Bannu, and the Bishop rushed over. Then, a senior professor at Forman Christian College was shot dead.”

Although Gordon Brown had “seemed” to condemn the US attack, Dr Gosling said, the Foreign Secretary, David Mili­band, had not done so when he visited Pakistan last week.

Dr Gosling said he had received a death threat himself, which was “very disconcerting”.

The night-time rocket attack on the Pennell High School in Bannu, on 20 November, damaged the school’s science laboratory and some classrooms, but there were no casualties, the diocesan magazine The Frontier News reported.

“The very moment Bishop Mano heard the sad news, he went at once to visit the Pennell School and to meet the Christian com­munity of Bannu. His visit was a source of encouragement and relief to them, as told by the Bannu parish members,” the magazine reported. The Bishop “strongly condemned the attack, and asked the government to provide security for Christians and their institutions.”

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