LAHORE: Pakistani police have detained a number of people for questioning in connection with the kidnapping of an American development expert in the eastern city of Lahore, investigators said on Sunday.
In a pre-dawn raid on Saturday, six to eight assailants broke into the house of the man, identified by the US State Department as Warren Weinstein, and abducted him after overpowering security guards.
"We have detained a few people for questioning, including guards posted at the house," Lahore police chief Ahmed Raza Tahir told Reuters.
"We hope to recover him soon," he added, without giving further details.
US embassy spokesman Alberto Rodriguez said they had not yet been informed about any progress in the case. "Police are investigating. We are waiting."
No one claimed responsibility for the abduction.
Weinstein has been identified as working for J.E. Austin & Associates, an Arlington, Virginia-based consulting firm, on a development project in lawless tribal areas where Pakistani troops have been battling insurgents for years.
Police said the gunmen barged into house on the pretext of sharing a meal with the guards, a common practice during the Muslim fasting month of Ramazan, which started early this month. The attackers then forced Weinstein's driver to knock on his bedroom door. When he opened it, they took him.
The victim, in his 60s, had been living in Pakistan for five to six years, according to police. He mostly lived in Islamabad but had been travelling to Lahore.
Relations between Pakistan and the United States have sharply deteriorated since January, when a CIA contractor killed two Pakistanis in Lahore, and worsened after US Navy SEALS killed al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in a raid in northwestern Pakistan that Islamabad termed a breach of its sovereignty.
Pakistani Taliban, linked to al Qaeda, have claimed responsibility for kidnapping a Swiss couple in July in the volatile southwestern province of Balochistan.
Eight Pakistani employees of a US-based aid organisation, American Refugee Committee (ARC), were kidnapped in Balochistan last month.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ
@rehmat: Yes, that treasure trove of accurate information...Google? Warren Weinstein's company's website was working fine until the 12th of August. Suddenly on the 13th, the site is 'under construction'. Just because someone has a good cover story (which most secret agents do) that is google-able, we cannot call them a CIA agent? Actually, I think it would be pretty stupid if the CIA agent does not have a proper cover story. Fanning anti-Americanism? Do you mean the likes of Genn Bleck, Debbie Schlusser and other neo-con crazies on CNN and FOX news?
How much Blood money will be required for his release .
If Osama is not safe in Pakistan, no one is safe,,,,
@DarkStar(Karachi): "What’s so stupid about accusing someone of being a CIA agent?"
It is stupid because all available information (which can be readily googled on internet) about this man is being ignored to make an unsubstantiated claim. Not just that, it is stupid because needless fanning of anti-Americanism is not to Pakistan's advantage. By all means legitimate national interests should be protected but to blame the victim and fan the flames of hatred is not just stupid, it is immoral and unethical,
Abductors got into an American's home on the pretext of sharing a meal. Since when Americans started to share meals with Pakistani strangers ?
The police seem to be waiting for the abductors to contact them and send proof of their identity. Or is the police waiting for instructions from the 'establishment' ?
@Roflcopter: A 65 year old man who had been working for 5 years on projects to uplift Pakistani disadvantaged person, who had taken the trouble to learn the local language, who tried to show respect for local customs wearing shalwar kamiz - he is abducted in Ramzan- fron his home in the middle of the night and you almost seem to be glating about it.
What is the basis of your hatred and prejudice may I ask?
@Meekal Ahmed: What's so stupid about accusing someone of being a CIA agent? And about hiding behind fake names, this is the internet, dude. We're not sitting in your drawing room.
Seems like the ISI have been following all American's these days - how about asking them what they observed?
Now that is a very sensible and intelligent comment to make! I hope you are proud of making such a stupid and unsubstantiated comment, not to mention hiding behind a fake name?
What are you afraid of?
Police shouldn't waste time trying to find this CIA agent
Pakistan is not safe for anyone except for the VVIPs (sometimes they are also under attack as the killings of Sulman Taseer and Benazir Bhutto attest to the fact). How can you expect the citizens of a country to be safe when the country's establishment itself works against the interests of its own country? Our generals strike and promote unholy alliances with the very forces (Talibans of every type) which have taken our country as hostage. Because it ensures hefty budgets for our armed forces, job security for our generals and bright futures for their kids in the army (as most of them are employed in the armed forces), our generals have a vested interest in keeping alive regional tensions with India and Afghanistan. The rest of us can go to hell.
What a question ! Wah Ali ,
@Ali: Well only Punjab police can come up with such a lame explanation of circumstances!
Since when has knocking at someone's door to offer them "sehri" by complete strangers been a common practice in Pakistan?