World Bulletin/News Desk
Cathay Pacific Airways has cancelled all flights to the Pakistani city of Karachi from Bangkok following a Taliban raid on the country's busiest airport this week, as top Pakistani officials debated how to tackle the escalating violence.
International flights in and out of Karachi have been suspended twice since Sunday, when gunmen wearing military uniforms stormed the airport, firing rocket-propelled grenades in an all-night siege that killed 34 people.
"We will continue to monitor the situation closely," Cathay said in a statement. "Customers are recommended to check flight status before departing for the airport."
Cathay Pacific shares were down 0.28 percent in mid-afternoon trade on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
In Islamabad, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif chaired a meeting with security officials late on Tuesday to discuss how to handle the crisis as the escalation of violence raised the prospects of an all-out army campaign.
The Pakistani Taliban said they had carried out the Karachi attack in response to strikes on their positions on the Afghan border.
Pakistan's air force has periodically bombed Taliban hideouts in the ethnic Pashtun belt straddling the border, but has yet to mount a major ground offensive there.
Security was tight around Karachi airport and the bustling and chaotic city of 18 million people remained nervous after the twin attacks, though life had seemed to return to normal, with shops and markets open and people going about daily tasks.
"It looks like the Taliban have taken over the entire country," said Mohammad Gulfam, who owns an electrical appliances shop in Karachi.
"What we want is that the army should carry out a big operation to clear out all the country, so that the public can get some peace of mind."
Sunday's assault destroyed prospects for peace talks between the Taliban and the Sharif's government after months of failed attempts.
Last Mod: 11 Haziran 2014, 11:40