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Taliban 'demanding cash' from Christian politician

Former lawmaker says he and his family are under threat

<p>Michael Javed , left,  says he received 70 extortion threats in just four days </p>

Michael Javed , left,  says he received 70 extortion threats in just four days 

  • ucanews.com reporter, Karachi
  • Pakistan
  • September 3, 2013
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A former Christian lawmaker is seeking protection after claiming he is being subjected to extortion threats from a banned militant organization in Karachi.

Javed Michael, a former Sindh assembly member and provincial minister, said he has been receiving telephone calls from suspected members of the prohibited Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) demanding money.

“They have told me to pay PKR2 million [US$19, 000] immediately. I have told them that I can’t afford that much money,” Michael said.

“I have received about 70 calls in just four days. They have threatened to bomb my house and kidnap my children if I don’t pay.”

Michael, who is also a senior member of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) minority wing, said he has contacted his party, police, the Interior Ministry and other officials and requested protection.

“My kids are feeling very unsafe. Where should we go? We have confined ourselves to our house,” Michael said.

The former lawmaker said he was expecting to meet with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who is due to arrive in Karachi on Wednesday to review the law and order situation in Pakistan’s largest city.

Police say they are investigating the threats.

“We have received a complaint from Javed Michael and investigations are under way,” a senior officer of the Special Investigation Cell (SIC) told ucanews.com.

The SIC is a special police unit tasked with handling kidnapping, extortion and other serious crimes. 

All Pakistan Minority Alliance (APMA) chairman Dr Paul Bhatti has strongly condemned the threats made to Javed Michael and called for the arrest of those who made them.

The APMA is an umbrella group of non-Muslim minority religions that fight for the rights of non-Muslims.  

According to media and intelligence reports, Taliban militants are actively generating funds in Karachi through extortion and kidnapping.

Pakistan' s The Nation newspaper recently quoted officials as saying that the TTP has generated funds to the tune of PKR3 billion from the country's major cities including Karachi.

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