The ICRC in Pakistan
The ICRC was present at the birth of Pakistan in 1947, when it was requested by both the Pakistani and Indian governments to respond to the humanitarian consequences of the partition. Today, as a 150-year-old global humanitarian organization with activities all over the world, the ICRC is still working in Pakistan with the same strong commitment it has had for 65 years, to provide support for the country's people, authorities and the Pakistan Red Crescent Society in the event of armed violence or, when need be, natural disasters.
Security concerns for ICRC staff in the country came into sharp focus with the murder of Khalil Rasjed Dale, a health-programme manager, in Quetta in April 2012. As a consequence, the ICRC's humanitarian work was scaled back, with some activities continuing while others were being brought to a complete halt. A dialogue with the authorities is in progress to determine the type and scope of the ICRC's humanitarian activities in the country.
ICRC continues to work for people in Pakistan
From its offices in Islamabad and Peshawar:
- The ICRC has enhanced its support for 17 physical rehabilitation centres in the north and west of the country. To ensure long-term sustainability of services, it is handing over its physical rehabilitation centre in Muzaffarabad as an autonomous body to the government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
- The ICRC continues to help people who have been separated by violence, migration or natural disaster to maintain or restore contact. It is also helping people detained abroad to exchange regular news with their families inside Pakistan.
- The ICRC regularly discusses and promotes international humanitarian law and humanitarian principles with civilian and military authorities and with representatives of civil society. The ICRC builds upon its experience providing humanitarian services within the Muslim world and beyond and promotes the complementary nature of international humanitarian law and Islamic law. These humanitarian experiences can become useful bridges of exchange among countries.
- The ICRC provides support for Pakistan Red Crescent Society emergency and disaster management services, the society's public communication activities and for PRCS’ efforts to help separated family members stay in touch with one another.
- The ICRC has contributed to Pakistan’s economy by purchasing goods worth 13.5 billion Pakistani rupees (about 123 million US dollars) on the local market for its various humanitarian activities in Pakistan and around the world since 2009.
In the future
The ICRC has proposed to the Government of Pakistan to contribute to improvements in the health sector by supporting the casualties of violence throughout the entire chain of casualty care, from first aid at the site of injury and their treatment, to physical rehabilitation, as well as activities intended to raise awareness of risks posed by unexploded ordnance and to ensure that proper procedures are followed in the handling of mortal remains.