US Academic Shot in Karachi ‘Devoted to Pakistan’

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Pakistani police officers look at a car of a U.S. citizen Debra Lobo, targeted by gunmen in Karachi, Pakistan, Thursday, April 16, 2015. Image credit: AP
Pakistani police officers look at a car of a U.S. citizen Debra Lobo, targeted by gunmen in Karachi, Pakistan, Thursday, April 16, 2015. Image credit: AP

Debra Lobo, Assistant Professor at Jinnah Medical College, was apparently targeted because of her nationality

KARACHI (AFP) – A US academic recovering in a Pakistan hospital after being shot by suspected militants has made an “immeasurable” contribution to the medical college where she works, a colleague said on Friday.

Debra Lobo, 55, is conscious and in a stable condition in hospital in Karachi after being shot once in the cheek and once in the arm on Thursday.

Leaflets dropped at the scene of the attack said Lobo was targeted because of her nationality and vowed more attacks on Americans.

Baqar Nawab, the administrator of Jinnah Medical and Dental College, where Lobo is assistant professor of community health, hailed what she has done since joining in 1996.

“She has a huge contribution towards the growth of this college,” Nawab said.

“We can never find her replacement and her contribution is immeasurable.”

Nawab said Lobo, who is married to a Pakistani Christian, was hugely popular with students.

“We got a lot of calls from former students of the college who are now serving as doctors in America. They were all very much concerned about her,” the administrator said.

Leaflets left at the scene of the shooting hinted at the involvement of militants linked to the Daesh group, though they also claimed the attack as revenge for the death of suspected Al Qaida members in a police raid earlier in the week.

Nawab said Lobo had never been threatened and had completely integrated into the Pakistani way of life, adopting local dress and speaking Urdu fluently.

“She wears shalwar kameez, and she carries herself in the perfect way the local values call for,” he said.

“She is more mistaken for a Pashtun or Central Asian lady rather than an American woman.”

Karachi, a city of 20 million people, is wracked by violence and targeted shootings are a near-daily occurrence, either for robbery or for religious, political or ethnic reasons.

But attacks on foreigners are rare.

Police said their investigation was focusing on groups whose members have been killed or arrested in a recent crackdown on militants in the city.

There have been concerns about the Daesh group tapping support in Pakistan, a country awash with dozens of militant groups.

Some disaffected Pakistani Taliban cadres have also said they have switched allegiance to Daesh, but the true extent of links to the group’s Middle East operations remains unclear.

 

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