Red Cross Scales Back Operations in Pakistan

Posted August 28th, 2012 at 11:50 am (UTC-5)
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The Red Cross is scaling back its operations in Pakistan, following the killing of one of its staff members earlier this year.

British doctor Khalil Rasjed Dale was kidnapped and beheaded in Quetta, the capital of the southwestern province of Baluchsitan, in April. Dale had been managing a health program in the city.

His death prompted the International Committee of the Red Cross to suspend activities in the Pakistani cities of Peshawar and Karachi and undertake an extensive review of its activities in the country.

On Tuesday, the ICRC announced that its health services will resume in the coming weeks, including at a surgical hospital in Peshawar that was shut after Dale's killing. But the international aid group said it will “terminate all other activities for people affected by the current situation” in Baluchistan, the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Pakistan's tribal areas.

The Red Cross said all visits to detainees in Pakistan will stop, and that the organization's offices in Sindh province and in Quetta are being closed. The group says its work with flood victims in Sindh is complete.

The head of the ICRC delegation in Islamabad, Paul Castella, said “having worked in Pakistan for more than 60 years, we are aware that some of these decisions will affect vulnerable people in some areas, but we need to take into account the challenges faced by our staff and adjust our activities accordingly.”

The ICRC says its partnership with Pakistan Red Crescent Society and support for physical rehabilitation services in Peshawar and Muzaffarabad will continue.