honored the dead and wounded during a special church service in a temporary building, the Cable News Network said. The special Palm Sunday service, March 24, came just hours after Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf said the war on terrorism must be won at any cost.
In a televised speech Musharraf proposed sweeping reforms to ensure public safety, a clear reference to international concern about the church attack. He said Pakistan’s intelligence agencies should warn and prevent terror attacks "instead of reporting them after they happen," the Voice of America reported.
Attacks on Christians in largely Muslim Pakistan are relatively rare, although a shooting incident in October 2001 in the eastern province of Punjab left 18 dead. That attack was blamed on hard-line Islamic groups opposed to Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf’s support for the US-led war on terror.
Meanwhile most American families are preparing to leave Pakistan, following last Sunday’s grenade attack on the church in Islamabad, that killed five people, including two Americans. The U.S. State Department has ordered the evacuation of all non-essential personnel at American embassies and consulates.
It came as dozens of Pakistani opposition leaders were reportedly arrested Saturday throughout the country as police prevented rallies calling for the ouster of General Musharraf. The military ruler has refused to allow large demonstrations since earlier this year, when he began a crack-down on Islamic militants.
The detained opposition leaders are from the Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy, the Voice of America said. Their group was formed in the wake of the 1999 bloodless coup that brought General Musharraf to power.