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KARACHI: An American academic recovering in a private hospital after being shot by suspected militants made an “immeasurable” contribution to the medical college where she worked, her colleague said on Friday.

Debra Lobo, 55, is conscious and in a stable condition at Aga Khan University Hospital after being hit by a bullet in the cheek and arm on Thursday. Leaflets dropped at the scene of the attack said Lobo was targeted because of her nationality and vowed more attacks on the US nationals.

Lobo is married to a Pakistani Christian.

Baqar Nawab, administrator of the 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 told AFP.

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

He said she was hugely popular with students. “We got a lot of calls from former college students who are now serving as doctors in America. They were all very much concerned about her,” he added.

The administrator 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 Pakhtun or Central Asian lady rather than an American woman,” he added.

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

There have been concerns about the self-styled Islamic State group tapping support in Pakistan, as some disaffected Pakistani Taliban cadres also said they had switched allegiance to IS, but the true extent of links to the group’s operations remains unclear.

Published in Dawn, April 18th, 2015

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