News / Asia

Pakistan on High Security Alert

Pakistan Pakistani police officers surround the Supreme Court building Aug 2, 2013. Police are on alert against potential militant attacks in the capital, Islamabad.
Pakistan Pakistani police officers surround the Supreme Court building Aug 2, 2013. Police are on alert against potential militant attacks in the capital, Islamabad.
Ayaz Gul
Authorities in Pakistan have put in place special security measures in major cities, including Islamabad, citing threats ahead of the annual Eid festival marking the end of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan. The move comes just days after a major jailbreak in a northwestern city that freed nearly 250 prisoners, including “dangerous terrorists.”

In the wake of rising militant and sectarian attacks in recent years, security is usually tightened across Pakistan in the closing days of Ramadan, when people often crowd major mosques to worship round the clock.

However, a top police officer in Islamabad, Jamil Hashmi, acknowledged that this year special security measures have been put in place, citing “certain threats”. He did not elaborate and said that police teams, assisted by paramilitary forces, also scoured forests in the Margalla hills surrounding the capital city.

“Close to the Eid [festival] we do the same every year because about 1,500 people are sitting in the Faisal Mosque and we have to take care of them as well. There are certain threats as well so keeping in view the threats, we have made extraordinary arrangements. We have made search operations in the Margalla hills. On top of the hills there are some new pickets [troop deployments]," said Hashmi.

Some Pakistan officials are reported saying reinforcements also have been sent to protect sensitive locations in Islamabad that face a security threat. Among them are the parliament building and the Faisal Mosque, the largest in Pakistan.

Despite heightened security, a bomb exploded inside a passenger train traveling between Lahore and Karachi. More than a dozen people were wounded.  There are no claims of responsibility.

Suspected Taliban militants have unleashed a bloody insurgency that has killed thousands of Pakistanis in recent years while Sunni Muslim extremists have stepped up deadly attacks on the nation's minority Shiite community.

It is unclear whether the security alert is meant to defend against a specific target or whether it is a reaction to last week’s massive jail break in northwestern Pakistan.

Heavily armed local Taliban fighters disguised as police assaulted a prison in Dera Ismail Khan and freed nearly 250 inmates.

Pakistani officials say the escapees included around 45 they considered “dangerous terrorists”. The majority remain at large.

That jail break and similar attacks on prisons in Iraq and Libya prompted the international police agency, Interpol, to the put the world on security alert. In addition, the United States and other Western governments have closed embassies in recent days in several countries in the Middle East and Africa because of security threats.

You May Like

Cambodia Seeks Official UN Maps for Vietnam Border

Notice of request comes as 2 countries open border talks Tuesday after a clash last month More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Maia Pujara
July 07, 2015 10:01 PM
A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbs

A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs