News / Asia

US Orders Diplomats Out of Lahore

Pakistani security personnel stand alert outside the US consulate in Lahore, August 9, 2013.
Pakistani security personnel stand alert outside the US consulate in Lahore, August 9, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Sharon Behn
— The United States has ordered the evacuation of its consulate in the eastern Pakistani city Lahore because of what it calls “specific threats.” The State Department also issued a new travel warning urging all U.S. citizens to defer non-essential travel to Pakistan.
 
Meghan Gregonis, spokeswoman for the U.S. embassy in the Pakistan capital Islamabad, said all non-emergency personnel had been evacuated from the consulate in the eastern city Lahore.
 
"We have received information regarding a threat to our consulate in Lahore, Pakistan. As a precautionary measure we have undertaken a drawdown for all but emergency personnel in Lahore," she said. "We do not have an announcement at this time on when the consulate will reopen. "
 
Click to enlargeClick to enlarge
x
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Gregonis said it was not clear if the threats received against the consulate in Lahore were linked to the al-Qaeda threats that forced the extended closure of 19 US embassies and consulates across the Middle East and Africa.
 
"At this time the threat is localized, and the embassy here in Islamabad and other consulates are scheduled to reopen on Monday after the (Muslim) Eid holiday," she said.
 
One senior Pakistani government official told VOA the information on the threat did not come from Pakistan sources. Speaking on condition of anonymity given the senstivity of the situation, the official said Pakistan officials are meeting with American embassy representatives Friday to discuss the situation.

In recent days, Pakistan has increased its own security measures citing concerns around Friday's annual Eid holiday, as well as a recent jailbreak at a prison in the northwest that released more than 200 prisoners, including "dangerous terrorists.”
 
Omar Hamid Khan, an Interior Ministry spokesman, said the federal government had instructed the provincial authorities to be on alert around prisons and that increased security measures have also been taken around the capital, Islamabad.
 
"That zone has been fortified, and there have been general alerts issued, there is the airports and some of the sensitive installations are under heavy guard, besides that of course there is heavy surveillance, and aerial surveillance as well, and a general sense of alert in the city," he said.
 
The U.S. State Department, which issues regular warnings to U.S. citizens traveling to Pakistan, on Thursday reminded its nationals of ongoing security concerns in the country.
 
It said that the presence of several foreign and indigenous terrorist groups in Pakistan pose a potential danger to U.S. citizens throughout the country. There are frequent terror attacks in Pakistan, against civilian, government and foreign targets, including coordinated assaults on heavily armed Pakistani installations.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
August 09, 2013 10:53 AM
The US should withdraw all diplomatic staff from countries such as Pakistan and Yemen that are not safe and should cut off all financial and military assistance to those countries. Millions of dollars are given annually to the military of these countries and if they cannot protect the hands that feed them, they do not deserve any military assistance and the US does not need any diplomatic office or staff in those countries.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid