Ed Johnson, Bloomberg
Sydney: The United Nations suspended operations in an area of Pakistan-administered Kashmir after humanitarian workers were attacked earlier this week.
The UN will conduct only emergency services in the Tehsil Bagh area for the next two weeks, “in view of the current security situation and the prevailing tensions,” the world body said in a statement.
A UN residence in the town of Bagh was burned down 7 May by demonstrators protesting against aid organizations employing women, the Associated Press reported. The UN evacuated 83 workers from the area, the news agency added.
The region was devastated by an 8 October 2005, 7.6 magnitude earthquake that killed more than 73,000 people and destroyed or damaged 400,000 houses in Pakistan-administered Kashmir and North West Frontier province. More than 1,200 people were killed on the Indian side of Kashmir. Both India and Pakistan claim the Himalayan region in full and control it only partially.
Protests began in the Muslim-majority area last week when residents near Bagh seized two local women employed by a Western aid group in the company of a man and handed them over to police, accusing them of “spreading obscenity,” AP cited police chief Mohammed Arif as saying.
The UN said it will improve coordination and contacts with local authorities and other humanitarian organizations in the area and “better inform the local community” about its policies and activities.