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Friday, 23 August, 2002, 15:43 GMT 16:43 UK
US reopens 'secret' Karachi mission
US and Pakistani personnel survey damage after the June car bomb attack
Security has been a key concern since the attack
The US has reopened its consulate in Pakistan's port city of Karachi at a "secret" location.


People can phone us so we could fix appointments

Lonney Kelley, consulate official
A consulate official told the BBC the mission was resuming partial operation, but he refused to reveal its new location on the grounds of security.

The US shut down its consulate in Karachi after a car bomb attack by suspected extremists in June which killed 12 Pakistanis and injured several others.

The blast destroyed a number of vehicles in the consulate's car park, slightly damaging the consulate building and nearby structures, but no US citizen was hurt.

The mission resumed partial operations in June after the road next to it was shut down, and paramilitary forces replaced the police on guard duty.

But city authorities reopened the road to public traffic in early August and soon afterwards the consulate was shut down once again.

Anxiety persists

The consulate's public affairs officer, Lonney Kelley, told the BBC on Friday: "We have decided to resume our operation at a makeshift office in Karachi."

Pakistani paramilitary soldier guards foreign mission in Karachi
Paramilitary forces took over consular security
Asked how the mission would conduct its consular tasks if its location remained secret, he said: "We plan to keep our services limited.

"People can phone us so we could fix appointments."

The consulate assess the merit of requests to visit the mission, he said.

He did not know when the consulate would resume normal operations.

Violent year

The blast outside the US consulate was one of a series of attacks against foreign interests in Pakistan this year.

Nearly 40 people, including 11 French and three US citizens, have lost their lives and many others have been wounded in the attacks.

Dozens of suspected extremists have been arrested in recent months in a countrywide campaign launched by the Musharraf government.

Three alleged Pakistani extremists were charged by an anti-terrorism court on Wednesday with carrying out the attack on the consulate.

Their trial is scheduled to begin on Saturday. If found guilty, they could face the death penalty.

Musharraf's Pakistan

Democracy challenge

Militant threat

Background

TALKING POINT

FROM THE ARCHIVES

BBC WORLD SERVICE
See also:

21 Aug 02 | South Asia
14 Aug 02 | South Asia
06 Aug 02 | South Asia
14 Jun 02 | South Asia
24 May 02 | South Asia
06 Jun 02 | South Asia
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