ISLAMABAD, May 10, 2012 (AFP) – The Red Cross on Thursday suspended most of its aid projects in Pakistan and recalled all of its foreign staff to the capital, following the brutal murder of a British worker.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said it had put on hold activities run from the southern port city of Karachi and the northwestern city of Peshawar, while it reviewed its operations after the killing of Khalil Dale.
The move suspends activities at all facilities run by ICRC apart from a physical rehabilitation centre in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.
“The recent attack against the ICRC compels us to completely reassess the balance between the humanitarian impact of our activities and the risks faced by our staff,” said Jacques de Maio, ICRC’s head of operations for South Asia.
The 60-year-old Dale’s mutilated body was found outside Quetta, the capital of the insurgency-plagued southwest province of Baluchistan, on April 29, four months after he was abducted.
ICRC activities in Quetta were frozen in the aftermath of Dale’s death, the aid group said.
“We are currently analysing the situation and the environment with a view to setting out a clear and sustainable way forward,” said Paul Castella, head of the ICRC delegation in Pakistan.
“In the coming weeks, the ICRC will announce a decision on its future presence and set-up in Pakistan.”
Some of the expatriate staff recalled to Islamabad will work on the review process, while the majority of local staff in Karachi, Quetta and Peshawar will go on paid leave, ICRC said. RSS