Gunmen abduct US man in Pakistan

2011-08-13 13:12

Lahore - Gunmen abducted an American man from his home in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore on Saturday, officials said, in an unusually brazen raid that showed the threat to foreigners living in the militancy-wracked country.

The American Embassy identified the victim as Warren Weinstein. A man by that name serves as the Pakistan country director for JE Austin Associates, a development contractor that works with the aid arm of the American government, according to a profile on the LinkedIn networking website.

The profile says that Weinstein is based in Lahore and had been in Pakistan for seven years. Calls to the company in the United States were not immediately answered.

According to Pakistani police, between eight and 10 assailants broke into the American's house in an upscale neighbourhood in Lahore after persuading the guards to open the gate by saying they wanted to give them food - an act of sharing during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Home raid unusual

Police officer Attiqur Rehman said the motive for the attack was not immediately clear.

Foreigners have frequently been targeted by militants in Pakistan in recent years, but it is unusual for the assailants to stage such a raid on a victim's home. Also, kidnappings for ransom are common in Pakistan, though most of the victims are Pakistani.

Abductions are usually carried out by criminal gangs, though ransoms are also believed to help fund militant groups.

The Pakistani Taliban claim to be currently holding two people from Switzerland kidnapped earlier this summer while they were travelling through a remote and dangerous south-western region.

Americans in Pakistan are considered especially at risk from militant attack because the insurgents oppose Islamabad's alliance with Washington and the US-led war in Afghanistan. US diplomats, aid workers and others are urged to take strong security precautions.

Ties between Washington and Islamabad plummeted this year following the shooting in Lahore of two Pakistanis by a CIA contractor, who was held in jail in the city of 10 million people for two months despite pleas by Washington for his release.

The unilateral American raid on Osama bin Laden on May 2 further soured ties and led to increased scrutiny on Americans living in Pakistan.

American diplomats facing more harassment

Earlier this week, the US State Department issued a travel warning for its citizens saying that American diplomats are facing increased harassment and they, along with aid workers and journalists, have been falsely identified as spies in the local media.

According to JE Austin Associates Website, Weinstein is a recognised expert in international development with 25 years experience, proficient in six foreign languages and has a PhD in International Law & Economics.

He currently heads a programme seeking to strengthen the competitiveness of Pakistani industries.

  • BOFFINBOB - 2011-08-13 13:46

    What makes it worse for him is that he is Jewish. Dead man !

  • GonnyVonYuri - 2011-08-13 14:25

    Not many people know that Pakistan was once part of India until 1947 when the British partitioned it. When it was part of India it was a beautiful place rich in Hindu/Buddhist history. Then the muslims wanted their own country and the british split up india. Today pakistan is a hell-hole. Islam is a dangerous hateful religion - whenever muslims are in majority they want their own country. Look at all the problems in the world today - all the evil and hatred comes from where muslims live.

      legens - 2011-08-13 14:38

      Dear Gonny .What absolute crap .All problems in the world are caused by religion and not anyone in particular . Look at the troubles in Northern Ireland . All forms of religion should be expunged from human existence and things will go better.

      legens - 2011-08-13 15:17

      A fool maybe ,but i do not suffer from a short or selective memory .Does the inquisition ,mad dog Breivik ,the west wall ,Waco,Srebrenica ,genl Mladic ,david koresh ,Baruch Goldstein(the american doctor who shot 29 muslims while they were praying) ,Amir(the Jewish chap who shot the jewish PM)etc mean anything to you ? and really the troubles in Northern Ireland was just what a decade ago and this is of no importance to you

      stuart.steedman - 2011-08-13 15:19

      @GonnyVonYuri you are seriously deluded mate. Militant religiously-inspired Northern Irelanders routinely launched bomb against the general public in terror attacks that were devastating - all in the name of Christianity. They were well known for abducting and murdering selected victims. Let's also not forgot our friend up in Oslo who bombed a government building and then went on a shooting spree against kids - all in the name of his own personal Christian crusade. I agree with Legens, the problem is religion in general, not necessarily Islam.

      GonnyVonYuri - 2011-08-13 18:24

      This is what the koran says - now you know where the hatred comes from - direct from mohamed... Koran 5:51 Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends. They are friends with one another. Whoever of you seeks their friendship shall become one of their number. Allah does not guide the wrong-doers.

      stuart.steedman - 2011-08-13 21:51

      Your Bible has plenty of verses advocating rape and murder. Want me to go through them with you?

      legens - 2011-08-14 11:24

      Don`t bother ,Stuart .Christians are known for their selective reading ,quoting and interpretation of their bible .Tt`s either that or they are incredibly stupid and gullible .Me thinks it`s the latter ,how else could one explain the fact that the bible is still around ? If only it was/is read with a modicum of reason it would not have survived a first print (sorry ,re-write).

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