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Scaling down operations in Pakistan, but staying

Today, the ICRC in Islamabad and Geneva reiterated its commitment to continue working in Pakistan, but on a much reduced scale. 

The announcement comes after a comprehensive assessment of the operational environment and of our assistance and protection programs in the country, three months after the murder of ICRC health program manager Khalil Dale in Quetta.

Most of our relief and protection activities in Pakistan, including visits to detainees, come to an end. In the future and if conditions permit, the Islamabad delegation and Peshawar sub-delegation intend to focus on healthcare for the wounded and the physically disabled, notably through the reopening of an ICRC field hospital in Peshawar.

In 2011, Pakistan was one of the largest ICRC operations in the world. The delegation had ten structures across the country and employed 1,300 staff members who assisted hundreds of thousands of people trying cope with violence and natural disasters.

Head of South Asia operations Jacques de Maio puts today's announcement in its historical perspective and explains why we had to balance what we do with exposure to risk in the field.