Pak's well-known charity worker faces Taliban abduction threat

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Pakistan's well-known social worker Abdul Sattar Edhi is facing abduction threat from Taliban, prompting the authorities here to provide him round-the-clock police protection.

Policemen had been deputed on duty 24 hours to provide security to Edhi after his name was found in a hit list prepared by the Taliban and intercepted by the police, a top police official said on Friday.

"His name was on the hit list which includes some other senior police officials," said senior police official Chaudhary Aslam, who himself has been the target of a suicide bomb attack by the Taliban at his residence in Karachi.

He said there was a danger that militants might try to take Edhi hostage by a militant group in exchange for prisoners that it wants sprung free.

"Two policemen from the Kharardar police station are with him for his security and the number can be increased if needs arises," he said.

Edhi, 85, when contacted said, he had been informed by the authorities few weeks back about the danger to his life. "I was told that the 'fauj' (Pakistan Army) had intercepted a conversation of militants where it was being discussed that I may come to be harmed," he said.

This is the first time that Edhi's name has been mentioned in a militant group's hit list. But Edhi said he was not scared by these threats.

"I have great faith in God and only he knows when one has to go. I have no personal enmity with anyone or any group I work for anyone in need regardless of his religion, creed or culture," Edhi said.

Edhi said his work was being hampered in some ways due to the round the clock security. "I have to keep them informed about my movements all the time and I don’t think I need this security. There is no way anyone can stop me from continuing with my work," he added.

But Edhi's son, Faisal said three people claiming to represent the local chapter of the Taliban had visited the Edhi trust office recently and assured him that they had no intention to harm the social worker, who is recognised the world over for his humanitarian work.

"They said to us that this is all government propaganda to malign the Taliban movement," he said.

"They also added they respected Edhi for his humanitarian work and could not even think of doing him any harm." Edhi runs the country's largest charity, which operates hundreds of ambulances and shelters for women, children and the destitute.

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