Pakistan-Based Western Diplomats Shifting Families to India
Western diplomats based in Islamabad were shifting their families to India fearing unrest in Pakistan following its decision to support the United States in its fight against terrorism, media reports said Saturday.
The Hindu newspaper said the daughters of the US ambassador to Islamabad, Wendy Chamberlin, had arrived in New Delhi on Thursday.
Diplomats from industrialized nations meanwhile were seeking "up to 5,000 rooms of five-star standard" in the northern city of Amritsar, The Asian Age said.
Quoting unidentified Indian government officials, the newspaper said several family members and dependents of British diplomats in Islamabad have already shifted to Amritsar in the past two days.
The large-scale evacuation was prompted by fears that Pakistan's President General Pervez Musharraf would not be able to contain radical Islamists opposed to his support for the US campaign to bring to book dissident Saudi millionaire Osama bin Laden, the newspaper said.
US President George W. Bush has said bin Laden, believed to be in Afghanistan, is wanted "dead of alive" in connection with the September 11 terror strikes on New York and Washington that killed more than 6,300 people.
On Friday, four Pakistanis were killed as hard-line Islamic groups protesting against the support for possible US strikes on Afghanistan clashed with police in Karachi.
Rallies and demonstrations were held in several other Pakistani cities where crowds burnt US flags and effigies of Bush.
Amritsar, the holy city of the Sikh religion, was a preferred location for Islamabad-based diplomats because of the city's proximity to Pakistan, the report said.
Another reason for moving their families to India was that in case any of them wanted to fly out to their home countries, they would be able to do so more easily from Indian airports -- NEW DELHI (AFP)
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)