The hunt for Faisal Shahzad

Published: May 5, 2010
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 Faisal Shahzad’s picture was flashed all over the world after his name surfaced as a suspect. (Reuters)

Faisal Shahzad’s picture was flashed all over the world after his name surfaced as a suspect. (Reuters)

KARACHI/PESHAWAR: Baharul Haque, a former vice air marshal with the Pakistan Airforce has been identified as the father of NY car bomb suspect Faisal Shahzad.

It begins in Peshawar:

All day, there was heavy traffic outside house number 139 on Street 6 in Peshawar’s posh locality of Hayatabad.

The gate was padlocked but that didn’t seem to deter visitors. “Security was very tight all day and there were lots of foreigners, policemen as well intelligence agency types in and around the area all day,” says one area resident.

The house is said to belong to Baharul Haque, a former vice air marshal with the Pakistan Airforce. But the interest in Haque stems from the fact that he is the father of Faisal Shahzad, the US citizen being held in America in connection with a failed bombing attempt in New York’s Times Square.

Leading the investigation is the Special Investigation Group (SIG) of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), headed by SIG commandant Khalid Qureshi. Earlier in the day, the US ambassador in Pakistan Anne W Patterson had called the interior minister and asked for help in this case.

Malik assured the ambassador of full co-operation and promptly tasked the SIG. But the details emerging so far are sketchy. Shahzad is said to hail from a village near Pabbi called Mohib Banda (see box). Locals in Pabbi say that Shahzad’s family shifted to Peshawar some 20 years ago.

Shahzad is thought to have pursued graduation studies from the Pakistan Air Force Government Degree College in Peshawar before leaving for the US to pursue business studies.

The US passport (see box) is proof he got naturalised during his stay in the US and he is said to have visited Pakistan several times over the years. (However, immigration authorities claim they have no information on the man.) It was on one of these visits two or three years ago, he’s said to have gotten married to a girl from either Mardan or Charsadda.

His in-laws are said to be resident in Peshawar too. “Shahzad recently came to Pakistan for a month,” says a senior intelligence official privy to the investigations being held throughout the country. “He landed in Islamabad on July 3, 2009 via an Emirates flight and left the country to go back to the US on August 5, 2009,” he said.

The address on the disembarkation card was house number 3, Sector I 8/3 in Islamabad, says the official. Shahzad is said to have travelled to several locations in the country during his brief visit but officials say they don’t have an exact record as he travelled on buses and coaches. He is also said to have visited his wife and child in Karachi.

Times Square bombing:

But intelligence officials are tightlipped when asked about the whereabouts of the family. Understandably, everyone seems to be in a bid to distance themselves from Shahzad. Baharul Haque’s relatives in Hayatabad insist they have no official confirmation that the man arrested in the US is indeed his son. Nor is the airforce willing to confirm that Haque was ever one of them.

The spokesperson for the Pakistan Airforce Air Commodore Tariq Qamar Yazdani said he doesn’t know any air force officer named Baharul Haq and refused to check further.

Meanwhile, the immediate family has disappeared into thin air, even as the security apparatus conducts a crackdown on Shahzad’s friends and suspected collaborators. Two people have been arrested from Karachi in connection with the case. One is Tauseef Ahmed, who’s said to be Shahzad’s cousin and Iftikhar, who’s supposed to be Shahzad’s father-in-law. And another four are said to have been arrested from Islamabad.

There are also reports of another friend, Muhammad Rehan, having been arrested from Karachi. Official sources say Shahzad had stayed with Rehan in Karachi and both had travelled together to Peshawar.

Agencies add:

Meanwhile, in the US, prosecutors have formally filed terrorism charges against Shahzad. The 10-page criminal complaint accuses Shahzad of five charges, including that of attempting “to use a weapon of mass destruction” to kill people in the crowded centre of New York on Saturday. Shahzad was arrested from JFK airport in New York on Monday. He was on an Emirates flight to Dubai after the attempted bombing of Times Square. The plane was taxiing just before midnight when air traffic called it back and the 30-year-old Pakistani-born US citizen was caught.

WITH REPORTING BY SALMAN SIDDIQUI, ADIL JAWAD AND FAWAD KHAN IN KARACHI, ASIM AWAN AND ZIA M KHAN IN ISLAMABAD AND IFTIKHAR FIRDOUS IN PESHAWAR.

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Reader Comments (30)

  • anwaarahmad
    May 5, 2010 - 5:09AM

    Beinazir has very rightly pointed out in her last book that clash of civilization exits in our own society.We are a lost nation as there is no hope of our survival.We should follow the musicians trying to have a last tune in sinking Titanic. Long live Hameed Gul,Jamaat e Islami and Nawa e Waqt.Recommend

  • Hamood
    May 5, 2010 - 6:12AM

    Another nut job terrorist with a regular family and even small kids who ruined not only his life but of all his loved ones. Not to mention the innocent people that he wanted to kill. These terrorists need to be flushed out wherever they are and the mullahs who preach that this life is worthless and that all non-Muslims are fair game for slaughter should be hanged as well.Recommend

  • Ahmed Tariq
    May 5, 2010 - 6:54AM

    US Passport, US Citizen…
    So this is an American terriorist… right?Recommend

  • umayr masud
    May 5, 2010 - 8:21AM

    This is sad, another Pakistani brings shame to the nation. Now it will be even harder to travel/live around the globe.Recommend

  • May 5, 2010 - 9:47AM

    Military Coups, Provoking Wars, Killing Prime Ministers, training Jihadists and now breeding Jihadist. Yep, lets thank the army for the terrific impact they have on all of our lives. Recommend

  • sadsid
    May 5, 2010 - 10:38AM

    Tribune should check out the ATP website which has a detailed profile on Faisal Shahzad
    http://pakistaniat.com/2010/05/04/profile-faisal-shahzad/#more-13142Recommend

  • Asif Saeed
    May 5, 2010 - 11:49AM

    What the heck? This guy was living in USA, paying his taxes there, spending in their economy but now he is a Pakistani terrorist?? Why Pakistani?? and how is he a Pakistani??Recommend

  • May 5, 2010 - 11:56AM

    Assalamoalaikum! The US is so getting on everybody’s nerves with false claims such as this one! The American people on the other hand are not against the muslims, its the leaders of the self-proclaimed super power that are holding a grudge against us muslims! i just feel the poor guy is being framed… Having watched two bollywood movies just recently on how even innocent American-Muslim citizens are falsely charged with terrorism, detained and terribly mistreated, i’m really scared for this guy! im prayng hard for his family! may Allah swt help and protect his parents, relatives, wife and child in such harsh times, AmeenRecommend

  • bakht
    May 5, 2010 - 12:08PM

    I feel sorry for all those Pakistanis living peacefully abroad. I am surprise how come all those Maddarsas are still exists where these ***** take education.
    There should be a law that All those institutions should be demolished where they go for education. Recommend

  • Jamal
    May 5, 2010 - 12:10PM

    *American passport, american citizenship make people a proud american no matter which background the person hails from, – Why US govt shy away to address such people as American Terrorist with ‘Foreign links’ what makes them scared to admit that within US there are hundred of sleeper terrorist.
    Is it not surprising that in few hours of the american citizen’s arrest at JFK the Dead Mehsud’s letter to family of Another naturalised US citizen Afia Siddiqui surfaced assuring full support and venegance?
    A religious political party in Pakistan is hand-in-Glove with militants of every-background and leadership be it US, Indonesia, Pakistan, EU etc etc. They should be brave and bold enough to AT LEAST take it head-on at their own Turf.
    One peron’s jihad may be a murder of humanity Jihad does not allow mass murders which this party’s sponsored terrorists are doing
    *
    Recommend

  • Saqib
    May 5, 2010 - 12:39PM

    The New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said there was “no evidence” to support the links of the NY bomb threat to Islamist groups, but we muslims straight away point our finger at the mullahs and jihadis without giving a second thought…get a life people!!! We are all just believing what they are making us believe. It is so evident that all this is being done to make a perception that muslims = terrorists and the irony is that who so ever is doing this is successful to the extent that even the muslims today have the same view. Recommend

  • TL
    May 5, 2010 - 12:50PM

    I don’t trust what media says about Faisal. Few months back we heard Baitullah Mehsud is dead and now he is alive yet again!Recommend

  • Hussain
    May 5, 2010 - 1:00PM

    I don’t understand what made him to do this… he looks like a very regular guy….Recommend

  • Hussain
    May 5, 2010 - 1:02PM

    Should we say another Ajmal Qasab???
    Is this really brain washing???Recommend

  • I.F
    May 5, 2010 - 1:16PM

    It was Hakimullah and not Baitullah that was reported killed by State Media.Express did not report on this issue,But, Yes they did quote.Recommend

  • Mohsin
    May 5, 2010 - 1:18PM

    Really a sad thing that Pakistan’s name was dragged with it !!!Recommend

  • Sadee
    May 5, 2010 - 1:27PM

    thats right blame it on americans since we pakistani are the chosen people, and the purest on the plant.

    people like thanaya asgher are so ignorant and arrogant that they can never accept a fault with themselves or the ** mullahs.Recommend

  • Usman Eshai
    May 5, 2010 - 2:06PM

    TL is absolutely right… media cannot be trusted. Our opinions are based on what media tells us. Truth is always Bitter and hard to find. Recommend

  • sheraz khan
    May 5, 2010 - 2:07PM

    what in the name of all that is fair was this guy thinking?? he certainly looks like an educated person and apparently from a good family too…this act of his has caused pain and suffering to not only his loved ones but to each and every Pakistani living abroad but that aint the saddest part, the saddest part is that some of our beloved Muslim counterparts are suggesting that its a part of a Global Conspiracy against us…according to them the ones who are committing suicide blasts in Pakistan are agents of foreign powers and not Muslims, the ones who hanged headless bodies upside down in swat were not talibans, Dr Aafia is an Angel from above and this nut job is the latest victim…Recommend

  • Mansoor Khalid
    May 5, 2010 - 2:09PM

    I think the accused must be prosecuted with justice and if found guilty, he must be dealt with as per the local laws. Being a Pakistan born US citizen, this should concern Pakistan as to why its population is still being affected by the extremist syndrome.Recommend

  • Ammar Zafarullah
    May 5, 2010 - 3:52PM

    Pakistan seems to be the hub of international terrorism, as every other incident traces its roots to Pakistan. Until we take serious measures to eradicate extremism from our society nutcases like Faisal shazad will be coming back for training!Recommend

  • bvongrabe
    May 5, 2010 - 4:36PM

    It appears that he had become the victim of the Goldman-Sachs mortgage fraud (packaging BBB mortgages as AAA mortgages, then betting on a mkarket crash) that caused the mortgage disaster and the foreclosure of his house. I would be ticked off, too, though not necessarily to the point of me killing innocent people who were also victims.Recommend

  • Tehmina
    May 5, 2010 - 10:50PM

    “The US passport (see box) is proof he got naturalised during his stay in the US and he is said to have visited Pakistan several times over the years. (However, immigration authorities claim they have no information on the man.)”
    “The spokesperson for the Pakistan Airforce Air Commodore Tariq Qamar Yazdani said he doesn’t know any air force officer named Baharul Haq and refused to check further.”

    Isn’t it odd that after Hakimullah Mehsud announced that the NYC bomb was “thier” doing, US authorities had found no link whatsoever of the incident to terrorism ? How did the Pakistani authorities suddenly find his father to be an air-force officer when the PAF officials say that there was no officer of that name?

    This case strongly resembles that of Ajmal Kasab’s arrest last year. Recommend

  • imran
    May 6, 2010 - 3:15AM

    us cetizen
    american passport
    so its a american terrorist.Recommend

  • I.M
    May 6, 2010 - 10:25AM

    If he intended to kill innocent people then hang him in public.This is Islamic punishment for a murderer.Recommend

  • TL
    May 6, 2010 - 1:12PM

    This is just another “MY NAME IS KHAN” incident! It is easy for US to accuse Pakistanis and specifically muslims because they know other countries will screw them! Why only Faisal is a suspect? Is any Pakistani media defending this guy? Sad.Recommend

  • May 6, 2010 - 1:14PM

    Totally agreed with Imran. why media start shouting if their is a terrrorist Pakistan is involved.Recommend

  • bakht
    May 6, 2010 - 1:19PM

    I believe that we should start treating the US citizen like the Indians ,VISA for specified cities and police reporting and NO visa for Kyber Pakhtunqa until or unless they proof the purpose of their visit. Whenever a terrorist is caught he always comes to Karachi and goes to Peshawar for training. Sorry for the suggestion, because of one nut we all suffer.Recommend

  • neomeric
    May 6, 2010 - 3:25PM

    US remains a vibrant, libertarian society, that allows people from all across the world to make it their home. The guys who are writing against USA should consider how silly they are.

    They deny the evil created by their nation, and thus tacitly support the (Military Dominated) system that created it.
    By suggesting Anyone with any naturalized citizen of US, doing terrorist activity is no longer pakistan’s problem, they are suggesting and supporting US system shutting its doors on all pakistani’s for Visa and for immigration. After all why should US take a chance??
    By spewing venom against US, they are being thankless to their biggest donor since the creation of the nation. Pakistan would’ve gone to the dogs without US’s firm backing.
    Recommend

  • Ali
    May 17, 2010 - 3:13PM

    i dont appricitae at all what this guy has done its compltely against our religion and ethics at the same time…..but i have few questions,y do unsuccessful bomb attcks happen only in USA y they become so aqurate and fatal in Pakistan, a single person walkin on road blow his self and results in killing hundereds on the other hand a car or a truck loaded of RDX cant do shi* …..is that just to make an excuse to put blame on muslims specially pakis…alrite leave it here its just not what i m thinkin ,take it the other way as they try to let ppl show….he did it on purpose with his own will being an extreamist….y media is tryin to create a war against us???what about the successful bomb attacks occur every single day in Afghanistan,Iraq by the US soldiers ,y palestine ,lebanon and syria have been victimised by the brutal air attacks by isreali air force and non of these channels even bother to play a single slide during their broadcast?? to die peacefully is just americans and jews right?muslims pierced with bullets and bomb shell n this doesnt matter to any one……..Recommend

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