No leads: Missing men had remittances work in common

Investigators say no ransom call has been made a week on.


Express June 07, 2011

KARACHI:


The only thing common among the three bankers who mysteriously disappeared from Bin Qasim Town a week ago is that they were all working on remittances, the money that Pakistanis working abroad send home.


Najamus Saqib is a senior director at the remittances department at the State Bank of Pakistan, the other SBP banker, Nadeem Bhurgri, is reportedly the head of marketing for the Pakistan Remittances Initiative and the third missing banker, Asif Shehzad, is the senior vice president of the remittances department at United Bank Limited.

One of the three men was also working in close coordination with a sensitive agency on money laundering and hawala and hundi cases, the informal and illegal system of transferring money to and from Pakistan.

A week has passed since the men disappeared on May 31 on their way back home from the country club but investigators have little to go on as no ransom call has been made.

This is not necessarily as bad as it seems, cautions DSP Amir Amin of the Anti-Violent Crime Cell who has been tasked with the case in the absence of his superior SSP Farooq Awan. Awan is on Umra leave till June 15. “There have been instances when the kidnappers didn’t contact anyone from the family for many weeks,” said Amin. “This is a tactic to keep the families of the victims under extreme pressure so that they agree to whatever astronomical amount they demand [later on].”

For their part, the police are raiding certain hideouts, but with little success. Even Citizens-Police Liaison Committee chief Ahmed Chinoy could say little more than the case was still under investigation. Out of the 45 reported cases in which 60 people were kidnapped so far year, only one in June involved bankers. According to the data maintained by CPLC, 11 cases were reported in January, seven in February, seven in March, 10 in April, eight in May and two in June.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 8th, 2011.

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