US aid worker: Investigators track down Weinstein kidnappers

Published: May 8, 2012

Warren Weinstein. PHOTO: FILE

LAHORE: 

Police investigators told a visiting team of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on Monday that they have tracked down the al Qaeda ring involved in the kidnapping of a septuagenarian US aid worker. 

Warren Weinstein, 71, was abducted from his residence in the upscale Model Town neighbourhood of Lahore on August 13, 2011. He was the country director for JE Austin Associates, a US-based consultancy which works with the US Agency for International Development.

An FBI team visited the offices of the deputy inspector general of police (investigation branch) and superintendent of police at Crime Investigation Agency (CIA) to get updates on the investigations.

The team was told that Pakistani agencies have arrested two al Qaeda operatives who were part of the eight-member ring involved in Weinstein’s kidnapping, sources told The Express Tribune. One of them took part in the kidnapping while the other was the facilitator.

However, the remaining six members of the network, including al Qaeda chief Ayman al Zawahiri and his Pakistani cohort Afzaal Hussain, could not be arrested because they are hiding in the tribal regions and neighbouring provinces of Afghanistan.

The FBI team’s visit coincided with the release of a video message by al Qaeda’s media arm in which Weinstein has been shown pleading for his life and asking President Barack Obama to accept his captors’ demands.

Although he didn’t spell out the demands, last year al Zawahiri had said that Weinstein would be freed if the US stopped drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen and released al Qaeda and Taliban prisoners, including the 9/11 suspects in Guantanamo Bay.

According to the Joint Investigation Report, the eight members of the network also include Saifur Rehman, a resident of Chak No 37, Pakpattan district, Hafiz Muhammad Imran, alias Abbas, a resident of Sodhraan More, Gujranwala district.

Saif told investigators that he had rented a room in Dogar Plaza, situated near the Tokhar Niaz Baig neighbourhood of Lahore, where the kidnappers had stayed for three days (August 11 to 13). Saif also confessed that he had only arranged accommodation for the kidnappers.

Hafiz Imran told investigators that he had done recce on the residence of Weinstein for two days before his kidnapping. Later he also actively took part in the kidnapping. The pair identified the remaining three members of their network by their pseudonyms as Saeed, Talha and Ali.

During the identification parade in the court of Judicial Magistrate of Model Town, Syed Naeem Abbas, the security guards who were posted at Weinstein’s residence on the day of kidnapping identified Hafiz Imran, sources told The Express Tribune. The guards have been included in the list of witnesses in the case.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 8th, 2012.

Reader Comments (11)

  • Imran
    May 8, 2012 - 10:07AM

    What about the kidnapping of Salman Taseer ‘s son? Any leads punjab police? khadim-e-aala?

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  • Super Star
    May 8, 2012 - 10:12AM

    It just shows how free and safe Al qaeda and its supporters are in Pakistan

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  • John B
    May 8, 2012 - 10:17AM

    Amazing how PAK FM asks for evidence of al Zawahiri’s presence in PAK in response to sec. Clinton statements whereas the PAK intelligence office knows his whereabouts and his role in Weinstein kidnapping. Hmmm..

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  • atif
    May 8, 2012 - 10:27AM

    why does ET keep calling him Aid Workder, when clearly he is not

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  • Imran Con
    May 8, 2012 - 11:17AM

    @atif:
    Probably because they’re not delusional. Don’t feel bad though, crazy people never think they’re crazy.

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  • Chandio
    May 8, 2012 - 11:20AM

    Using AID as intelligence tool by the US has jeopardized the work of all other genuine aid workers including the UN Agencies.

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  • curious
    May 8, 2012 - 12:47PM

    With a name like Weinstein, why was he in Pakistan in the first place, that is quite stupid of him to come in the first place.

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  • ishrat salim
    May 8, 2012 - 1:03PM

    The level of efficiency & training of our police force show how the kidnappers were so quick to transfer the victim to tribal area without notice & thru so many chechposts within the city & toll plazas on the way to FATA ( not a small travel route ?)..which means..escape was fecilitated by the Punjab govt to keep pressure off its back due to such high profile case including Salman Taseer case….same….Recommend

  • Palwasha
    May 8, 2012 - 3:35PM

    Below quote by deputy inspector general of police says that Ayman al Zawahiri is hiding in Pakistan??????…………..but our foreign minster said she need proof…

    “However, the remaining six members of the network, including al Qaeda chief Ayman al Zawahiri and his Pakistani cohort Afzaal Hussain, could not be arrested because they are hiding in the tribal regions and neighbouring provinces of Afghanistan”.

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  • Rana Amjad
    May 9, 2012 - 1:09AM

    Sad instead of sympathies for the poor family of the aid worker, we are questioning his name! We SURELY are very weird people.

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  • Super Star
    May 9, 2012 - 10:14AM

    The whole world knows where Zawahiri is except Pakistan. Some even think he is a CIA agent ! joke of the century!

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