UN calls for release of abducted official in Pakistan

February 20th, 2009 - 8:05 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Feb 20 (Xinhua) The UN Friday renewed its call for the release of an UN official abducted by Pakistani militants in southwestern part of the country.
John Solecki, an American national and head of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), was abducted by militants near his office in Balochistan provincial capital of Quetta early this month.

“The UN is aware of the message received Wednesday evening through the media, and we take it seriously,” a UN statement said.

“The UN remains extremely concerned about John Solecki’s health, which we are told is deteriorating,” said the statement, released by Maki Shinohara, UN spokesperson in Islamabad.

A group named Baloch Liberation United Front (BLUF) has claimed responsibility of the kidnapping and released his video with a list of demands, including the release of its members from Pakistani jails.

The group had earlier set a 72-hour deadline for the release but later extended without announcing a time limit.

The UN earlier appealed to the abductors for direct contact but the request was turned down.

“The United Nations once again appeals to those having John to contact us, if not directly, then through a trusted intermediary so that the situation can be resolved in a peaceful dialogue,” said the UN statement Friday.

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