A Chinese couple, five of their female employees, and two men were taken away from their residence in Islamabad early Saturday morning by Lal Masjid students, according to reliable sources.
They are now held hostage in Jamia Hafsa, a religious school under Lal Masjid, the red mosque.
Pakistani Interior Minister Aftab Khan Sherpao said Saturday that Pakistan would take measures to ensure the safety and early release of the nine Chinese.
In a telephone conversation with Chinese Ambassador Luo Zhaohui, Sherpao said that he was sorry for the unexpected incident.
Luo told Xinhua that he requested the Pakistani government to take measures to ensure the safety of the Chinese hostages and all the Chinese in Pakistan.
In a separate phone conversation, Luo contacted Pakistan Muslim League (Q) President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and asked him to use his influence for the safety and early release of the Chinese hostages.
The ruling party president, who had talks with the Lal Masjid administration for Pakistani hostages' release before, said that he was shocked to hear this incident involving Chinese and vowed to help solve the crisis.
A joint task force composed of Chinese embassy officials and Pakistani officials has been formed to get early release of the nine Chinese, Luo said.
(Xinhua News Agency June 23, 2007)