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Saturday Mar 16 2019

Bodies of four martyrs of Christchurch attacks to be brought to Pakistan: Qureshi


KARACHI: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Saturday that families of four Pakistani martyrs of Christchurch terror attacks had requested for bringing bodies of their loved ones to Pakistan, while relatives of two victims wanted their burial in New Zealand.

Speaking to Geo News, the foreign minister said so far six Pakistani martyrs of the attacks had been identified, while three were missing.

He said the government would fully cooperate in bringing bodies of four Pakistani martyrs back to country.

Regarding the three missing Pakistani nationals, Qureshi said they would be identified through DNA testing, which was likely to take some time. He said one injured Pakistani citizen was in critical condition and being treated in the ICU of a Christchurch hospital.

Dr Mohammad Faisal, a spokesman for Foreign Office of Pakistan, said Foreign Minister Qureshi had directed for all possible help and assistance to families of deceased and missing Pakistani citizens.

Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua also spoke to New Zealand Ambassador in Tehran Hamish McMaster, who is also accredited to Pakistan, via telephone, Faisal said.

The foreign secretary conveyed condolences on tragic loss of lives in the terrorist attack in Christchurch and requested for facilitation in assisting families of affected Pakistanis, he added.

Attacks on the two Christchurch mosques left at least 49 dead Friday, with one gunman — identified as an Australian extremist — apparently livestreaming the assault that triggered the lockdown of the New Zealand city.

In what appeared to be the worst attack against Muslims in a western country, witnesses spoke of victims being shot at close range, with women and children believed to be among those killed.

The gunman at one mosque was an Australia-born citizen Brendon Terrant, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in Sydney, describing him as "an extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist."

Earlier today, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Terrant, who has been arrested and charged with murder and committing a terrorist act, had allegedly used five firearms, including two semi-automatic weapons, two shotguns and a lever-action firearm.

She said the country’s gun laws will change in the aftermath of the attack on Christchurch mosques.

"While work has been done as to the chain of events that led to both the holding of this gun licence and the possession of these weapons, I can tell you one thing right now: our gun laws will change," Ardern told reporters in Christchurch.

"Now is the time for change. There are obviously questions being asked of how this person was able to enter the country and undertake this act of terror."

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