Pakistan condemns ‘tragic terrorist attack’ in New Zealand, PM Khan blames Islamophobia

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday condemned the “terrorist attack” on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand in which at least 40 people were killed and 20 more were seriously injured.

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“Shocked and strongly condemn the Christchurch, New Zealand, terrorist attack on mosques. This reaffirms what we have always maintained: that terrorism does not have a religion. Prayers go to the victims and their families,” he tweeted.

“I blame these increasing terror attacks on the current Islamophobia post-9/11 where Islam and 1.3 billion Muslims have collectively been blamed for any act of terror by a Muslim. This has been done deliberately to also demonize legitimate Muslim political struggles,” PM Imran added.

Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Shah Mehmood Qureshi expressed his condolences over loss of innocent lives in the aftermath of a heinous attack in Christchurch which as of now has claimed 27 lives and left scores injured.

“Pakistan condemns the tragic terrorist incident in New Zealand. Our High Commission is in touch with the local authorities and trying to ascertain details,” Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal tweeted.

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry expressed shock and grief over the shootings and said, “Hearts and soul of people of Pakistan are with people of New Zealand. Bangladesh Cricket Team escaped the attack; Pakistan suffered same situation years back and can feel n relate to the pain and misery.”

A gunman opened fire on Friday prayers at a mosque in New Zealand killing many worshippers and forcing the city of Christchurch into lockdown as police launched a massive manhunt.

New Zealand media reported that between nine and 27 people were killed, but the death toll could not be confirmed. Police said multiple fatalities had occurred at two mosques, but it was unclear how many attackers were involved.

“This is one of New Zealand’s darkest days,” said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. “Clearly what has happened here is an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence.”

Neither Ardern nor police gave a casualty toll.

Witnesses told media that a man dressed in a military-style, camouflage outfit, and carrying an automatic rifle had started randomly shooting people in the Al Noor mosque.

The Bangladesh cricket team was arriving for Friday prayers when the shooting occurred but all members were safe, a team coach told Reuters.

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