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PM condemns aid worker's killing

The murder of a British aid worker whose body was found dumped in an orchard in Pakistan has been condemned by the Prime Minister as a "shocking and merciless act".

Khalil Dale, 60, was kidnapped at gunpoint in January while working with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Baluchistan province.

David Cameron said: "I was deeply saddened to hear today about the brutal murder of Khalil Dale - a man who was killed whilst providing humanitarian support to others.

"This was a shocking and merciless act, carried out by people with no respect for human life and the rule of law. Khalil Dale has dedicated many years of his life to helping some of the most vulnerable people in the world and my thoughts today are with his friends and family."

Foreign Secretary William Hague said he learned of the death "with great sadness", adding that "tireless efforts" had been made over the past months to secure Mr Dale's release.

Mr Hague said: "I utterly condemn the kidnapping and killing of Mr Dale, and send my deepest condolences to his family and loved ones as they come to terms with their tragic and distressing loss. This was a senseless and cruel act, targeting someone whose role was to help the people of Pakistan, and causing immeasurable pain to those who knew Mr Dale."

The health programme manager from Dumfries, Scotland, who changed his name from Ken after becoming a Muslim, had been working in Pakistan for nearly a year. Mr Dale was travelling home from a local school, in a clearly-marked ICRC vehicle, when kidnappers bundled him into a car in the city of Quetta on January 5.

British Red Cross chief executive Sir Nick Young said: "Khalil Dale has been a committed member of the Red Cross Red Crescent family for the last 30 years. He was a gentle, kind person who devoted his life to helping others, including some of the world's most vulnerable people.

"We condemn his abduction and murder in the strongest possible terms. It not only robs him of his life, and his family and co-workers of their loved one and friend - it robs the people he was helping of the expert care they need."

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond said: "Mr Dale was a nurse and highly experienced aid worker who had saved many lives in his long service with the International Committee of the Red Cross. He was a brave, skilled and compassionate professional who will be deeply missed."

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