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Monday, 18 March, 2002, 15:00 GMT
Pakistan probe into church attack
Armed policemen guard church in Lahore, capital of Punjab province
Heightened measures have not prevented attacks
The Pakistani Government has set up a special task force to investigate the church attack in Islamabad, which has left five people dead.

The President, Pervez Musharraf, has also summoned the governors of the four provinces, police chiefs and other senior officials to Islamabad for a discussion on the situation.

No arrests have been made so far in the case.

Two of the victims were Americans, and in a sign of US concern, the Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia, Christina Rocca, has arrived in Islamabad to assess the situation.

US Assistant Secretary of State Christina Rocca
Christina Rocca: Cut short visit to India
Ms Rocca's cut short her visit to India to come to Pakistan.

In addition to the two dead, 10 other US citizens were wounded when grenades were hurled at the congregation inside the church.

'Lax' arrangements

A man who lived in Islamabad for five years and attended services at the church many times told the BBC News Online that policemen at nearby check-posts never usually stopped anyone.

He said the doorman guarding the church entrance would not check anyone either.

He said well-dressed persons could enter the church without the risk of being stopped or searched.

Reports in the Pakistani press quote local police officials as saying policemen stopped frisking visitors some years ago after being told by church authorities that body searches were inappropriate for a church in the diplomatic enclave.

A Pakistani spokesman, condemning the attack, said the government was determined to continue with its campaign against terrorism.

He said a special task force of all the security agencies has been set up to investigate the attack.

High-profile visitors

Since her arrival in Islamabad, Ms Rocca has spent most of her time at the American embassy to assess the security situation.

Pakistani troops guard the Islamabad church after the attack
Pakistan has pledged to crack down on militants

A spokesman for the US embassy said several Pakistani officials met Ms Rocca at the chancery.

Although no request has been made for a meeting with President Musharraf, the spokesman did not rule out the possibility.

Although people from eight different countries were hit in the grenade attack, Pakistani security officials believe the real target were American worshippers.

The attack has caused serious embarrassment for President Musharraf, who earlier this year promised a crack down on hardline Islamic groups.

However, in January, suspected Islamic militants kidnapped US journalist Daniel Pearl and the following month announced he had been killed.

Musharraf's Pakistan
See also:

18 Mar 02 | South Asia
US focus on Pakistan after attack
17 Mar 02 | South Asia
In pictures: Pakistan church blast
17 Mar 02 | South Asia
Bush condemns Pakistan killings
12 Mar 02 | South Asia
Violence at Shia funeral in Pakistan
08 Mar 02 | South Asia
Pakistan amnesty for Islamic radicals
27 Feb 02 | South Asia
Killings challenge Musharraf's resolve
14 Feb 02 | Country profiles
Country profile: Pakistan
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