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 closed down 0.14 percent at HK$14.48 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
Adding an international dimension to the events, Pakistani officials
said ethnic Uzbek fighters were behind the attack and a report by a
Pakistani monitoring website quoted an Uzbek commander as claiming
"Usman Ghazi, the leader of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan
(IMU), claimed responsibility for Sundayís terrorist attack," said
the site, Pakistan Risk.
The IMU is a group allied with the Taliban which has often carried
out attacks alongside it.
"The Uzbek militant group, which has been based in Pakistanís tribal
areas since 2002, describes the attacks as revenge for Pakistani
airstrikes in North Waziristan on May 21 that targeted areas
populated by Uzbek and other foreign militants," Pakistan Risk said.
Earlier, the Taliban's central command also claimed responsibility
for the attack.
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.
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"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
The Taliban's goal was to scare off international airlines from an
airport serving Pakistan's economic and financial nerve centre, 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 Qaeda-linked militants in dialogue 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.
(Writing by Maria Golovnina Additional reporting by Anne Marie
Roantree and Clare Baldwin; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)
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