‘Swiss hostages moved to tribal areas’

Published: July 5, 2011
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The Swiss identity card of Oliver David Och (L) and the Swiss driving licence of Daniela Wildmer are set on a table at a police station in Quetta. PHOTO: AFP

The Swiss identity card of Oliver David Och (L) and the Swiss driving licence of Daniela Wildmer are set on a table at a police station in Quetta. PHOTO: AFP

The Swiss identity card of Oliver David Och (L) and the Swiss driving licence of Daniela Wildmer are set on a table at a police station in Quetta. PHOTO: AFP A combo image of Swiss couple Oliver David Och (R) and Daniela Wildmer taken from their identity cards which were recovered and put on show at a police station in Quetta. PHOTO: AFP A member of the Pakistani boarder security stands next to a van which was used by a Swiss couple, kidnapped Friday while traveling in southwestern Pakistan, outside a police station in the Loralai district. PHOTO: AFP
QUETTA: 

A Swiss couple kidnapped on holiday in Pakistan has been smuggled into the lawless tribal belt on the Afghan border, a notorious haven for Taliban and al Qaeda, provincial home secretary Zafarullah Baloch said on Monday.

Olivier David Och, 31, and Daniela Widmer, 28, were abducted on Friday while driving through Balochistan.

“We have information that the Swiss couple have been shifted to the tribal areas,” Baloch told AFP.

Baloch quoted eyewitnesses, saying there were five kidnappers who were speaking Pashto. “They were armed with sophisticated weapons and there is a possibility that the kidnappers had crossed the border and entered into Afghanistan.”

He added that the couple were probably transferred through the southwestern town of Zhob, but did not specify where precisely they were likely to be now. He said searches would continue in Balochistan and that it was still unclear whether they were kidnapped by criminals or militants.

However, Commissioner Zhob Ikhtiar Khan Bangulzai, who is supervising the search operation, said he believed the kidnappers were still in Balochistan and had not crossed the border.

“Security has been tightened on the routes leading to Afghanistan and South Waziristan. Stringent security measures were adopted on all unfrequented routes and they are virtually sealed off, thus, it is impossible to break up the security cover and cross the international frontiers,” he told media men.

The Balochistan Levies, Frontier Corps, security agencies and police are jointly making efforts to locate the kidnappers. “We have also sought the help of tribal elders, political and religious parties in the area,” said Ikhtiar Khan Bangulzai.

He added that it seemed as though the kidnappers had not reached their final destination, which is probably why they had not claimed responsibility nor established any contact to make ransom demands. “I am not sure who is behind the kidnapping because there are different factors involved in such criminal activities. They could be the Taliban or a small gang of kidnappers.”

(With additional input from AFP)

Published in The Express Tribune, July 5th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (8)

  • Cautious
    Jul 4, 2011 - 8:36PM

    have been smuggled into the tribal belt on the Afghan border, a notorious haven for Taliban and al Qaeda, a local official said Monday.

    About time Pakistan take control of the “notorious haven” or perhaps the World should declare those territories as “outlaw” territories under no sovereign control – should fix the problem one way or the other.Recommend

  • harry stone
    Jul 4, 2011 - 9:25PM

    Another example that PAK is a lawless and failing nation.Recommend

  • Mirza
    Jul 4, 2011 - 11:09PM

    @Cautious:
    I absolutely agree with you. However, why do you want us to lose our one of the few sources of foreign exchange earnings? Our trade is booming in narcotics, human smuggling, arms running and kidnapping, all in that “safe area”. You want to financially choke our dear Taliban that we have raised for decades?
    Recommend

  • Pakhtoon
    Jul 4, 2011 - 11:59PM

    What was this couple was doing over there.Check might be they are agents of some secret organization.
    From where they are kidnapped that is not the route to go to Iran. There is a much safer route from where many people travel. These guys were on special or secret mission over there.Recommend

  • Nawaz
    Jul 5, 2011 - 1:23AM

    Pakistan is in a state of war. Certain areas of Balochistan and tribal areas are the most dangerous areas in the prevailing state of war. Any thing can happen in a state of war. The question is, what the hell that couple was doing in such a war zone? when a warning had already been issued to the press for foreigners to be careful?Recommend

  • Irshad Khan
    Jul 5, 2011 - 5:12PM

    Why so many no mens lands and no go areas` in our country? Where are our lawmakers and what they are doing?Recommend

  • Abdulmalik
    Jul 5, 2011 - 8:23PM

    @Pakhtoon: A Swiss couple on a secret mission? That makes a lot of sense … they were probably trying to figure out the secret Baloch cheese recipe to bring home, right?Recommend

  • Ali Akbar Khan
    Jul 6, 2011 - 9:15AM

    @Pakhtoon: I fully agree with you. The “Swiss” were actually agents of the RAW-CIA-MOSSAD axis that dictates every aspect of our lives. They were caught with transmitters on their persons and our brave Pakistan Taliban have now taken over responsibility of re-educating them. The girl will be married off to some bigshot Taliban and the man will be absorbed into the jihadi mainstream.Recommend

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