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Cathay Pacific to suspend all flights to Pakistan

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Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific airlines has decided to suspend its flights to and from Pakistan, a day after the threatened international organisations and individuals to leave the country or face violence.

"Yes I can confirm Cathay Pacific is suspending its flights to and from for an indefinite period due to security reasons," Sohail Younus, the airlines' sales manager in Pakistan told PTI.

He said the decision to suspend flights had come from the Cathay Pacific headquarters in Hong Kong.

The airlines had also suspended its twice weekly flights from last week following the terror attack on the old Karachi airport terminal building.

At least 29 people and 10 terrorists were killed in the six-hour long siege of the airport building.

The Pakistan Army has launched a major offensive against foreign and local terrorists in North Waziristan after the airport attack.

Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman Shahidullah Shahid said yesterday that Pakistan had buried the desire of its people for peace in the North Waziristan tribal region and launched a military operation to make its western backers happy.

"All international agencies, airlines and investors should immediately suspend all commercial ties with Pakistan and leave the country as we are in a state of war. Otherwise these foreign institutions or individuals will be responsible for any harm coming to them," he had warned.

The Cathay Pacific Airlines head office in said they were suspending flights to and from Pakistan due to commercial reasons.

Cathay Pacific said in a statement on its website it would operate 14 more flights to and from Karachi before operations cease.

Cathay Pacific's last flight will take off from Karachi for Hong Kong on June 29.

"This is to avoid disruptions for the hundreds of passengers who will be travelling prior to the holy month of Ramazan," it said.

Younus said the airlines would continue to evaluate the situation before taking any further decision.

Before Cathay Pacific other foreign airlines have also ceased operations to and from Pakistan due to security reasons including British Airways, Lufthansa and American Airlines.

"We hope that suspension is temporary and it will start operating soon," an official linked to the commercial operations of Cathay Pacific said.

Currently the airlines operates four flights per week from Karachi to various cities.

Currently, only 19 foreign carriers come to Pakistan.

Cathay Pacific started operating in Pakistan in 2000. It suspended flights once before for three months when US attacked Afghanistan in 2001.

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