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

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More