Fearing for life, foreigners plan to leave Pak after Saturday's hotel blast

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Islamabad, Sept 21 : In the aftermath of Saturday's suicide attack on Marriott Hotel killing around 60 people, foreigners living in Pakistan fear for their lives and are said to be planning to leave for their respective home countries.

Many who had dismissed these smaller attacks are now considering leaving. "I'll be speaking to my boss tomorrow," said an unidentified Briton who has worked in Islamabad for a Pakistani firm for several years.

Expatriates said they saw the attack on the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad as a watershed moment with its deliberate targeting of a local landmark where diplomats, politicians and the middle classes gather for business meetings, or to exercise at its gymnasium and dine out.

At present, there are around 150 British staff members working at the British High Commission in Islamabad. The High Commission - two of whose staff were injured in the attack - is still expected to function as normal.

However, employees are being relocated within a safe diplomatic enclave as part of long-term plan initiated since Pakistan's security began to deteriorate significantly last year, reported The Telegraph.

Foreigners, particularly the British and Americans are a scared lot, because their countries had pledged their support for the Pakistani government yesterday as the latter launched investigations into the attack.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said that he had assured Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari that he would "step up" co-operation with Islamabad in counter-terrorism operations.

ANI

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