Muscat: Another act of terrorism outside Karachi's Jinnah International Airport on Tuesday caused more angst than just another disruption to people's travel plans in Muscat. Sentiments of anger, embarrassment and sheer resentment were more palpable among the Pakistani community here than frustration over the cancellation of another flight to Karachi.
Thai Airways cancelled its flight TG508, scheduled for departure to Karachi-Bangkok at 8 pm on Tuesday night.
Karachi, Pakistan's largest city with an estimated population of 24 million, is also the country's economic lifeline. Such blatant militant attacks have angered the Pakistani community in Oman.
Outlawed Pakistani Taliban accepted responsibility for an attack on a security academy outside Karachi airport in less than 48 hours after an all-night siege of the old airport terminal which led to more than 30 people, including ten terrorists, being killed in a fierce gun battle with the security officials on Sunday.
"I cannot describe in words how I am feeling. My city is under attack. How could the terrorists come out and launch another attack within two days. It's high time our government started a firm and decisive action against the terrorists who are killing innocent Pakistanis on a daily basis," said Syed Jameed Zaidi, General Manager of a local company, whose family has resided in Karachi for generations.
AH Raja, Vice-Chairman of Pakistan Social Club, called for a firm policy to deal with the scourge of rising militancy.
"Our government must define a clear course of action to purge the country of these terrorists. They must outline a clear counter-terrorism policy without delay. Our security forces are fully capable of dealing with these terrorists with an iron hand. The people of Pakistan are now looking up to the government to provide them safety and security without any further delay," Raja added.
The two incidents inside and near Karachi airport have made many people change their travel plans.
"Pakistani schools are closing for summer vacation on June 12 and many people had purchased their tickets to interior areas of Pakistan via Karachi. They are now asking for direct flights to major cities like Lahore and Islamabad for onward travel. This has caused them as well as the travel agents a big headache for two reasons; firstly, there are hardly any seats available on direct flights at this late stage. Secondly, the passengers will have to pay at least a difference of OMR 50 for no fault of theirs," said Ansar Shahzad, Manager of Ittefaq Travel and Tourism.
"Even residents of Karachi are hesitant to go ahead with their scheduled travel plans and are delaying their departure by a week or so, which is again a headache because of shortage of available seats as well as the cost factor," he added.
To get in touch with the reporter: firstname.lastname@example.org