News / Asia

Cathay Cancels Karachi Flights as Pakistan Reviews Security

Planes are seen near a section of a damaged building (L) at Jinnah International Airport, after Sunday's attack by Taliban militants in Karachi, June 10, 2014.
Planes are seen near a section of a damaged building (L) at Jinnah International Airport, after Sunday's attack by Taliban militants in Karachi, June 10, 2014.
Reuters
Cathay Pacific Airways has canceled all flights to the Pakistani city of Karachi from Bangkok following a Taliban raid on the country's busiest airport this week, as top Pakistani officials debated how to tackle the escalating violence.
 
International flights in and out of Karachi have been suspended twice since Sunday, when gunmen wearing military uniforms stormed the airport, firing rocket-propelled grenades in an all-night siege that killed 34 people.
 
“We will continue to monitor the situation closely,” Cathay said in a statement. “Customers are recommended to check flight status before departing for the airport.”
 
Cathay Pacific shares were down 0.28 percent in mid-afternoon trade on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
 
In Islamabad, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif chaired a meeting with security officials late on Tuesday to discuss how to handle the crisis as the escalation of violence raised the prospects of an all-out army campaign against insurgent strongholds.
 
The Pakistani Taliban, a loose alliance of insurgent groups united by anti-state Jihadist ideology, said they had carried out the Karachi attack in response to strikes on their positions on the Afghan border.
 
Pakistan's air force has periodically bombed Taliban hideouts in the ethnic Pashtun belt straddling the border, but has yet to mount a major ground offensive there.
 
Security was tight around Karachi airport and the bustling city of 18 million people remained nervous after the twin attacks, though life seemed to have returned to normal, with shops and markets open and people going about daily tasks.
 
“It looks like the Taliban have taken over the entire country,” said Mohammad Gulfam, who owns an electrical appliances shop in Karachi.
 
“What we want is that the army should carry out a big operation to clear out all the country, so that the public can get some peace of mind.”
 
The Taliban's goal was to scare off international airlines from an airport serving Pakistan's economic and financial nerve center, said Imtiaz Gul, a security analyst in Islamabad, the capital.
 
“They [militants] came with a certain design to take an aircraft and passengers hostage and create a scene which would have lasted for many days,” Gul added.
 
“It would have put Pakistan in the international spotlight. That would have meant that foreigners and foreign airlines flying to Pakistani should stop doing that.”
 
Sunday's assault all but destroyed prospects for peace talks between the Taliban and Sharif's government, after months of failed attempts to engage the al-Qaida-linked militants in dialog on how to end years of violence.
 
The Pakistani Taliban are allied with the Afghan militants of the same name and share a similar jihadist ideology.
 
But they operate as a separate entity, focused entirely on toppling the Pakistani state and establishing strict Islamic rule in the nuclear-armed nation, whereas the Afghan Taliban are united by their campaign against invading foreign forces.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact 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.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs