Red Cross scales back Pakistan work


The Red Cross is scaling back its work in Pakistan, with the loss of hundreds of jobs, the aid organisation said Tuesday, following the brutal murder of a British aid worker earlier this year. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said it was closing offices in Karachi and Quetta, the capital of impoverished and insurgency-wracked Baluchistan province, and cutting projects in Pakistan’s troubled tribal northwest. The group suspended most of its operations in Pakistan in May after the killing of ICRC health worker Khalil Dale, whose mutilated body was found outside Quetta in April, four months after he was abducted. ICRC field operations will be reduced to offices in Islamabad, a surgical hospital in the northwestern city of Peshawar and a rehabilitation centre in Pakistan-administered Kashmir. Talks have begun with the government over reopening the Peshawar hospital — closed since the May suspension — though ICRC spokesman Najum-ul-Saqib Iqbal said the 120-bed capacity may be reduced and no timeframe has been set.