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Pakistanis Condemn Orlando Massacre

A "Pray for Orlando" card sits with part of a makeshift memorial outside the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts for victims of the fatal shootings at the Pulse Orlando nightclub in Orlando, Florida, June 13, 2016.

The government and people in Pakistan strongly condemned the Orlando, Florida, massacre that left at least 50 people dead.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said in a statement that the killing was against humanity, tolerance and social principles.

The country’s foreign secretary, Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, told VOA’s Urdu service that the “shooting in Orlando was a very sad incident.”

“At this difficult time we [Pakistanis] are with the people of United States,” he said.

Several Pakistani politicians who spoke to VOA also condemned the shooting. Senator Robina Khalid, member of the opposition representing the Pakistan Peoples’ Party, said extremist ideology must be confronted.

“This represents a particular thought,” Khalid said. “It should not be linked only to Islam.”

Khushbakht Shujaat, a member of the Parliament representing the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, said the incident had nothing to do with Islam.

“I think the incident is very condemnable — as a Muslim country we should condemn it in the strongest terms,” Shujaat said.

Senator Usman Kakar of the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party said such attacks are an attack on humanity.

“Such barbaric incidents should not happen,” Kakar said.

The Peshawar-based civil society activist Sana Ijaz said the attack’s target — an openly gay nightclub — should have no bearing on one's view of the tragedy.

“No one cares about the sexual orientation,” Ijaz said. “When a human suffers in Palestine, America, Pakistan or elsewhere, the pain is equally felt and the victim is very unfortunate.”

Islamabad residents, Mohammad Riaz and Chaudhary Irfan, said the attack emphasized the need for international efforts to combat terrorism and extremism.

Local activists and journalists in Peshawar say that the tribal region in Pakistan has been hit hard by both militants activities and operations conducted by Pakistan's army.

“Someone who has been witness to such sufferings can feel the real pain,” Mudassir Shah, a social activist said. “Whether he is a non-believer, American, or anyone else, Pashtuns can feel their real sorrow because they [Pashtuns] have sacrificed youths and loved ones.”