Pakistan’s help sought as deadline for UN hostage nears

March 5th, 2009 - 12:24 am ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, March 4 (DPA) The UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), in last ditch efforts to save the life of an abducted colleague, sought assistance from the Pakistani government Wednesday, a day before a deadline set by the captors expires.
John Solecki, the head of the UNHCR in Pakistan’s southwestern province of Balochistan, was kidnapped by unknown gunmen from provincial capital Quetta Feb 2.

The Baloch Liberation United Front (BLUF), which has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping, threatened in a letter sent to the local media late Sunday to kill Solecki after four days if the government did not release more than 1,100 prisoners.

A UNHCR delegation led by its representative in Pakistan, Guenet Guebre-Christos, called on Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani in Islamabad to press for timely efforts to gain solecki’s release.

Assuring full support for the safe return of Solecki, Gilani issued directives to all the authorities concerned, including the government of Balochistan, to make every possible effort for the immediate and safe recovery of the UNHCR official.

Earlier, the BLUF set a 72-hour deadline Feb 13 which was extended three days later without a new date being given.

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