Pak: 'Khyber Pakhtunkhwa unsafe for foreigners'
Islamabad: Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province is unsafe for foreigners and "this sorry state of affairs is unlikely to improve", a daily said on Monday.
An editorial in the News International pointed out that the circumstances surrounding the freeing of a pair of Swiss hostages last Thursday remains unclear since reports differ as to "whether they were released by their captors after the payment of a ransom or they made good their own escape".
Olivier Och and Daniela Widmer were kidnapped last July in Baluchistan.
The editorial said: "They will disappear into obscurity, but other hostages remain and the problem is now considered so severe as to warrant the issuance of fresh guidelines for foreigners wishing to visit Khyber Pakhtunkhwa".
The provincial government has issued fresh security directives for NGOs and their foreign employees.
Al Qaeda has said it will not free an elderly American development expert kidnapped in Lahore in August last year until its demands are met, said the daily.
"Other westerners are also in the hands of unknown groups, their whereabouts a mystery and their fates uncertain.
"Whether they are tourists or are engaged in humanitarian or relief work, Pakistan is officially at least as far as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is concerned unsafe for foreigners. This sorry state of affairs is unlikely to improve as extremism tightens its grip and westerners are tarred with the same brush being assumed to be American (or simply 'foreign spies') and thus fair game," it added.