Red Cross doctor kidnapped in Quetta — Video
QUETTA: A senior official of the International Committee of the Red Cross was kidnapped from the Chaman Housing Scheme here on Thursday.
“Yes, one of our health officials, Dr Khalil Diale, has been kidnapped by armed men at around 1.35pm,” said an official at the ICRC’s Quetta office.
Dr Diale was a British citizen and had been working in sub-delegation Quetta since February last year, he added.
The official said no one immediately contacted the ICRC for seeking any ransom or with other demands.
After the incident, the Balochistan government asked all foreigners working with national and international NGOs and UN organisations to restrict their movements and not to go anywhere without informing police.
The area from where the ICRC official was kidnapped is considered a high security zone because most of the offices of all organisations of United Nations, including UNHCR and Unicef, and other international NGOs, are located there.
Two years ago, the head of the UNHCR’s Quetta office was kidnapped from the same area by the Baloch United Liberation Front. He was released after two and a half months.
Sources said that Dr Diale was returning to the ICRC office after visiting a physical rehabilitation centre of ICRC in Christian Hospital, Quetta.
Quoting driver of the vehicle which was carrying Dr Diale, police said that armed men waiting in a Land Cruiser intercepted him when he reached near the ICRC office and took Dr Diale at gunpoint with them in their own vehicle parked around 200 metres away.
Police said that the kidnappers left the driver and vehicle near the ICRC office.
Dr Diale was travelling without security because ICRC officials are not allowed to keep weapons or security guards in official vehicles.
Balochistan Chief Minister Aslam Raisani directed officials concerned to utilise all resources for an early and safe recovery of Dr Diale.
The security of all UNHCR and other UN organisations’ offices and NGOs has been beefed up in Quetta.
Zulfiqar Ali adds from Peshawar: The ICRC has decided to close six field offices, including three in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, by the end of January because it is facing problems in access to victims in militancy-hit areas.
The committee’s spokesman in Islamabad, Najmus Saqib, said that field offices in Hangu, Swat and Lower Dir (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Jacobabad (Sindh), Muzaffarabad and Lahore were being closed. The move was not due to Thursday’s kidnapping and the main offices in Islamabad, Karachi, Peshawar and Quetta would continue to operate normally, he said.
According to the ICRC spokesman, rehabilitation activities in Swat and Lower Dir district would continue and the main office in Peshawar would oversee them.