- Pakistan ruling party MP kidnapped
- Roadside bomb kills 12 civilians in eastern Afghanistan
- Six 'cult' members held over China McDonald's death
Posted: 31 May 2014 07:04 AM PDT
LAHORE, Pakistan: A provincial lawmaker from Pakistan's ruling party has been kidnapped and is being held for ransom, police said Saturday.
Rana Jameel Hassan of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-N party was kidnapped on a motorway near the eastern town of Sargodha early Saturday as he returned from a funeral with his wife, police and relatives said.
"The kidnappers followed him in a car and took him away leaving his wife behind at Rawalpindi and asked her to arrange about 300,000 dollars (ransom money) in three days," the lawmaker's brother Rana Wakeel Hassan told AFP.
Senior police official Ahmed Ishaq Jehangir confirmed the kidnapping and said that police had begun an investigation.
A family source quoted the wife of the kidnapped MP as saying that when kidnappers followed them her husband sped away, but the abductors rammed their car to stop them.
She said that the armed men, who spoke the Pashto language of northwestern Pakistan, had blindfolded the pair, before dropping her near the garrison city of Rawalpindi.
The chief minister of Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif, who is also the younger brother of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, has ordered the police to immediately recover Hassan.
The MP represents the eastern Nankana Sahib district in Punjab provincial assembly.
Islamist militants have in the past used hostages as bargaining chips to try to obtain the release of Taliban prisoners and also for ransom. -AFP
Posted: 31 May 2014 12:46 AM PDT
GHAZNI, Afghanistan: A roadside bomb killed 12 civilians, including seven women in eastern Afghanistan Saturday, officials said, the latest violence in the country as US-led troops prepare to leave after 13 years of war.
The victims were travelling in Giro district of Ghazni province after a wedding ceremony when the bomb ripped through their vehicle, district governor Abdullah Khairkhwah told AFP.
"Twelve civilians were killed, seven of them were women, and the rest were men, as their minivan vehicles hit a roadside bomb," Khairkhwah said.
He added that two other civilians were also wounded in the explosion.
The district governor said the death toll might rise.
Ghazni provincial governor spokesman Shafiq Nang confirmed the incident.
Roadside bombs are commonly used by Taliban insurgents to target Afghan and foreign forces but often cause casualties to civilians.
Attacks that kill civilians usually go unclaimed and there was no immediate admission of responsibility for the deaths.
Afghanistan is in the middle of presidential elections, with former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah and ex-World Bank economist Ashraf Ghani due to compete in a head-to-head run-off vote next month.
Both candidates have promised to bring peace after decades of conflict. But they will have to tackle security without NATO combat troops, all 51,000 of whom will pull out by the end of this year. -AFP
Posted: 31 May 2014 12:42 AM PDT
SHANGHAI: Chinese police have detained six people for beating to death a woman at a McDonald's restaurant who refused to disclose her phone number, accusing them of being members of a religious cult, state media said Saturday.
The woman became involved in an argument with the six people, including a juvenile, who then allegedly beat her on Wednesday evening in Zhaoyuan city in Shandong province, the official Xinhua news agency said.
They were seeking to recruit the woman into a "evil cult" called Quannengshen, it said.
The group, which can be translated as Church of Almighty God, is a doomsday cult which was outlawed by the government in the mid-1990s, according to media reports.
Photos circulating on social media showed the woman wearing a white shirt and blue trousers lying face down in a pool of blood. She died after being taken to hospital, Xinhua said.
The six suspects included a man, his two daughters and a son, as well as two women, it said. The case of the juvenile, who media reports said was a 12-year-old boy, would be handled separately as he was below the age of criminal responsibility.
In a separate statement released on its official China microblog, McDonald's expressed "deep-felt grief" and pledged to investigate the matter.
China outlawed another group it labelled as an "evil cult", the spiritual movement Falungong, in the 1990s and has since detained tens of thousands of members. The group says its members are tortured for refusing to give up their beliefs. -AFP
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