The Foreign Office on Saturday released a list of Pakistanis that are missing since yesterday’s terror attack on two mosques in the quiet New Zealand city of Christchurch.
The attack on the Al Noor and Linwood mosques, that left at least 49 people dead, has been labelled terrorism by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and is thought to be the deadliest attack directed against Muslims in the West in modern times.
The dead were said to include women and children. Around 48 people were treated for gunshot wounds at Christchurch Hospital, including young children, with injuries ranging from critical to minor.
In a tweet, FO Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal revealed that four Pakistanis are still missing after the shooting took place.
The list includes:
- Zeeshan Raza
- Father of Zeeshan Raza
- Mother of Zeeshan Raza
- Haroon Mahmood, son of Shahid Mehmood
Yesterday, the FO had also said that four Pakistanis had been injured in the attack.
Asim Mukhtar, the secretary of the Pakistan Association of New Zealand, had told Dawn.com via telephone yesterday that one of the injured was identified as Naeem Rashid, who has been operated on and is in rehabilitation. Rashid was identified by a relative from the video live-streamed by the attacker. He reportedly attempted to stop the assailant as he gunned victims down in the mosque.
A second Pakistani victim was identified as Muhammad Amin, 60, who was visiting Christchurch. He received gunshot injuries and is receiving medical help, Mukhtar had said.
A 28-year-old Australian-born man has been charged with murder. He is set to appear at the Christchurch District Court early Saturday. Two other men remain in custody, although their link to the attack is unknown.
The Australian man, identified by international media as Brenton Tarrant, live-streamed footage of himself going room-to-room, victim to victim, shooting the wounded from close range as they struggled to crawl away. He also published a racist ‘manifesto’ on social media before the attack, featuring conspiracy theories about Europeans being “displaced” by immigrants and details of two years of preparation and radicalisation leading up to the shootings.
His two targets were the Masjid al Noor mosque, where 41 people died, and a second, smaller mosque in the suburb of Linwood, where seven more died. The remaining victim succumbed in hospital.
The survivors included 17 members of Bangladesh’s cricket team, whose game against New Zealand on Saturday has been cancelled, and a Palestinian man who fled for his life after seeing someone being shot in the head.
New Zealand police described the footage shot by the gunman as “extremely distressing” and warned web users that they could be liable for up to 10 years in jail for sharing such “objectionable content”.
In addition to the footage, a number of pictures were posted to a social media account showing a semi-automatic weapon covered in the names of historical figures, many of whom were involved in the killing of Muslims.
The attack has shocked New Zealanders, who are used to seeing around 50 murders a year in the entire country of 4.8 million and pride themselves on living in a secure and welcoming place.
Police, who initially imposed a city-wide lockdown, sent armed officers to a number of scenes and the threat level in the nation was raised from “low” to “high”.
In Auckland, 1,000 kilometres away, two unattended bags left near a railway station were detonated by military explosives experts.
Police also attended a property in Dunedin which they believe is linked to the attack and evacuated nearby residents. The southeastern city was named in the suspect’s manifesto as the original target for his attack.
Police warned Muslims all over the country not to visit mosques “anywhere in New Zealand” in the wake of the Christchurch attacks.
Christchurch city council offered a helpline for parents looking for kids attending a mass climate change rally near the shooting.