Leader of the opposition in the Pakistan National Assembly Maulana Fazlur Rehman has offered to help in securing release of the South Koreans held hostage by Taliban militants in Afghanistan.
Rahman, who is also secretary general of Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA), held out this assurance while talking to Korean Ambassador Kim Jooseeok on Tuesday.
"Majority of the hostages are women, and women are never made prisoners of war nor does Islam allow such acts," Rahman said. The hardline religious leader appealed to the Taliban to release the hostages on humanitarian grounds, Dawn reported on Wednesday.
Insurgents kidnapped 23 South Koreans from Ghazni province on the Kabul-Kandahar highway July 19, the largest group of foreign hostages taken in Afghanistan since the 2001 US-led invasion.
Last Wednesday, the insurgents killed the first hostage, a male leader of the group. On Tuesday, police said they found the bullet-riddled body of another slain South Korean.
The Taliban militants have been insisting on the exchange of Taliban prisoners for the hostages. They have set a new deadline till Wednesday afternoon to meet their demands.
Rahman, who also runs thousands of madrassas in Pakistan, has played a mediator in securing release of hostages in the past. According to media reports and security analysts, students from many of his seminaries have joined the Taliban in the last decade.