Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Pakistan ramps up Taliban offensive
Half a million evacuated as government ground troops advance
Pakistan troops launch a ground offensive against Taliban insurgents. (Photo courtesy of Inter-Service Public Relation)
- ucanews.com reporter, Karachi
- July 1, 2014
Pakistan's armed forces have stepped up an offensive against Taliban rebels in the restive tribal region that borders Afghanistan.
Ground assaults began in North Waziristan on Monday, two weeks after the start of air strikes which killed about 350 Taliban insurgents.
Some 500,000 displaced people have been forced to flee to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
"After evacuation of the civil population, ground operations commenced in and around Miranshah," a statement by the army's Inter-Service Public Relations said.
A firefight resulted in the deaths of 15 suspected Taliban. Three soldiers were also injured in the exchange, the statement added.
During house-to-house searches, troops uncovered underground tunnels and bomb making facilities inside the cleared area.
After months of frustrating attempts to negotiate a peace deal with the Taliban, Pakistan's army launched a comprehensive operation on June 15 to defeat the militants, who have been using the lawless northwest provinces as their base to carry out attacks across Pakistan.
The statement said that 376 suspected Taliban have been killed since the operation began.
According to Pakistan's disaster management authority, nearly 500,000 people have been displaced to Bannu, Dere Ismail Khan, Lakki Marwat and Tank districts, the biggest movement of refugees in the South Asian country in recent years.
"The civilian population has been evacuated from North Waziristan," an army statement confirmed.
The army has set up collection points across the country for relief supplies, which will be distributed to the displaced, the statement added.
Meanwhile, local media reported protests at refugee camps in Bannu and other districts for lack of preparedness.
Hundreds of internally displaced persons staged a protest in Bannu on Monday during a food distribution. Demonstrators chanted slogans against the local administration for not doing enough to help them and pelted police with stones.