US aid worker abduction: Police release suspect's sketch

Published: August 18, 2011
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The suspect, believed to be in his early twenties, allegedly pointed out the target to the kidnappers. PHOTO: EXPRESS

The suspect, believed to be in his early twenties, allegedly pointed out the target to the kidnappers. PHOTO: EXPRESS

LAHORE: Lahore police on Thursday released a sketch of one of the suspects wanted in the kidnapping of United States (US) citizen Dr Warren Weinstein.

The suspect, believed to be in his early twenties, allegedly pointed out the target to the kidnappers. He was the only one not wearing a mask.

(Read: Top-secret meeting: FBI, police map out plan for American’s recovery)

As the CCTV cameras of the house were out of order, the sketch was developed with the help of domestic servants and driver of the victim.

Police said the servants and driver will also be interrogated.

The police detained a number of people, including the security guards and Weinstein’s driver, for questioning after the kidnapping.

“We have released the sketch of one of the suspects based on information received from the detained people,” a senior police official in Lahore, capital of the central Punjab province, told Reuters.     Authorities, however, said they had not uncovered the motive behind the crime.

“Up until now, we are treating it as a simple kidnapping case. … We are confident we will recover him soon,” Rana Sanaullah, provincial law minister who also responsible for security affairs of the province, told Reuters.

Police also said that they would carry out lie-detector tests on his staff in a desperate search for leads.

“We have decided to conduct lie-detector tests on the security guards and the driver to verify their statements given to investigators,” senior police official Atif Hayat told AFP.

“From today, we will start their screening. We are also interrogating the security company officials responsible for his security,” Hayat said.

“We are questioning all those who served at his office in the past,” he added.

The staff are under suspicion partly because Weinstein was taken just two days before he was due to leave Pakistan after seven years, raising the possibility that his movements may have been leaked to the kidnappers.

The American embassy in Pakistan has offered its forensic teams to help with investigations.

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 Ramadan, 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, who is elderly, had been living in Pakistan for five to six years, according to police. He mostly lived in Islamabad but had been travelling to Lahore.

Kidnapping for ransom is relatively common in Pakistan,although foreigners are not often targets.

Militants also occasionally take foreigners hostage but these incidents have taken place in the volatile western region bordering Afghanistan, where insurgents are very active.

No one has claimed responsibility for the abduction. Sanuallah implied that Weinstein was a spy.

“We suspect that he was involved in intelligence gathering because we offered him a police escort, deployed police at his house, but he resisted our attempts,” he said.

“It gives the impression that he did not want us to keep a check on his activities and that makes it suspicious.”

Weinstein’s friends in the aid community have strenuously denied rumours he was working for any intelligence agency.

A US Embassy spokeswoman also denied it.

J.E. Austin & Associates, an Arlington, is a Virginia-based consulting firm and has been working on a development project in lawless tribal areas where Pakistani troops have been battling insurgents for years.

Dr Warren’s family reaches out to kidnappers

US aid worker Dr Warren Weinstein’s family issued a plea on Thursday, informing his kidnappers about his health condition and the medication he requires.

The family conveys their concern for his health, informing the kidnappers that Dr Weinstein suffers from severe asthma and a heart condition for which he requires constant medication to survive.

The medicines include, Plavix (75 mgs; daily) and Aspirin (325 mgs; daily) to prevent heart attacks, as well as (10 mgs daily) and a Symbicort or other similar inhaler to be used twice a day so he can breathe.

His family has requested his kidnappers to provide him the following medicines on humanitarian grounds, to ensure his survival.

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Reader Comments (14)

  • woohoo
    Aug 18, 2011 - 4:24PM

    Well, that clears up a lot. Now, let me go and search for him. It should be pretty easy.

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  • Uza Syed
    Aug 18, 2011 - 4:43PM

    Some oen should advise Pujab Government to produce this American before it’s too late. Your bluff is just that and now save your face and just let the man ‘be recovered’, it seems time is again running out and we will be sahmed again and you will see the Americans doing it themselves and in the process expose Nawaz Mian’s blunder again.

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  • Shahid
    Aug 18, 2011 - 4:48PM

    What these Americans are doing! Malik Ishaq just got released, he was getting a little stipend from Punjab govt when in prison, now out, he needs money, pay him $$$ and get back your boy!

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  • dude
    Aug 18, 2011 - 4:50PM

    wow, what a sketch. Im sure helps a lot. CCTV out of order :/. AND PKR 45K per month per guard? that is a lot. Being a resident of model town, all gates of model town are closed from 10pm till dawn and entry is only on a car with a sticker? or else a registry is done at the entrance? Why are we so inefficient from head to toe. Switching tones, iftari mein kitna time hai?

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  • Chengez K
    Aug 18, 2011 - 6:07PM

    Rana Sana Ullah is implying he was a agent probably for Mossad.If Punjab govt knew that he was an agent why did it do nothing?

    Are all these aid programs cover for CIA & Mossad?First there was a fake vaccination program launched…now this Dairy milk expert according to govt is Mossad agent…..What is going on?

    Dont we check the backgrounds of all these agents who are roaming across Pakistan..

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  • Zain Kamran
    Aug 18, 2011 - 6:40PM

    FAKE SKETCH. Looks like a person from the time of mughals.. lol

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  • Ali
    Aug 18, 2011 - 7:20PM

    He is not a spy! I would like you to read this letter written by another consultant who has worked with Dr. Warren:
    http://tribune.com.pk/story/232845/the-kidnapping-of-warren-weinstein/
    I worked with Warren on a ICT industry competitiveness project. Warren Weinstein is a source of inspiration for all Pakistanis. He has done instrumental work in developing dairy, furniture, gems and jewelry, surgicals, sporting goods, leather, and many other industries of Pakistan. He has worked on making industries of Pakistan more competitive. His efforts have resulted in hundreds of jobs for Pakisani citizens and contributed to raising the standard of living in the communities where these businesses are located. Infact, he has contributed more than most of the Pakistanis have contributed to Pakistan.
    The government and authorities should focus their 100% energy on finding him instead of coming up with excuses to hide their own incompetence.

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  • hehe
    Aug 18, 2011 - 8:30PM

    now i strongly want a google picture search option

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  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Aug 18, 2011 - 9:15PM

    There are so many people who are abducted/kidnapped and then killed in various cities of Pakistan but Dr Warren Weinstein abduction has raised many eyebrows.

    The blood in the veins of a human being is the same. It is only the upper skin which makes all the difference.

    For US even the Pakistani-Americans are not so important comparing to a white American who was born on US soil.

    It is the duty of the entire Pakistani nation to hunt for Dr Warren Weinstein and recover him from the kidnappers, who so ever the abductors may be, and hand him over to the US Government Officials to sent him back home.

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  • rehmat
    Aug 18, 2011 - 9:52PM

    Rana Sanaullah says ” “We suspect that he was involved in intelligence gathering because we offered him a police escort, deployed police at his house, but he resisted our attempts,”

    Is it possible that he did not trust the Punjab police and hence deployed his own guards? To go around blaming people of espionage without proof and that too by a senior provincial minister is highly irresponsible.

    Also if they thought he was involved in espionage because he refused police protection, what did they do about it?

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  • rameed
    Aug 18, 2011 - 10:28PM

    Didn’t he ever pause to consider that asking for armed escorts would have even put Weinstein’s life in greater jeorpardy by the attention it draws? Weinstein would not have even lasted six years in Pakistan with armed men in tow.

    Perhaps, foreigners are more comfortable carrying on with their businesses in Pakistan by being inconspicuous and by not sticking out like a sore thumb. Unlike feudalistic politicians who relish being escorted everywhere they go and drawing attention to themselves, perhaps foreigners don’t like the fact that security escorts move with them all the time. Their apprehension or fear to engage the services of security escorts or even report their every movement or whereabouts to the police does not mean that these foreigners are actually covert operatives of some hostile government out to take Pakistan’s nuclear assets. This paranoid and xenophobic thinking, in the age of globalization, is what keeps this country from moving forward.

    More so, armed escorts don’t necessarily guarantee a foreigner’s security in this part of the world. Weren’t the Sri Lankan cricket team that got waylaid in Lahore in March 2009 escorted by heavily armed guards? Recommend

  • Jahil hameed
    Aug 19, 2011 - 1:54AM

    He was wearing a saffron band and speaking Marathi. There is an Indian hand for sure. Lol

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  • MS - Mariya
    Aug 19, 2011 - 2:18AM

    Oh God! Did Rana SAAB really said that Warren is a spy because he refused police escort? His over grown moustache is really blocking his mind to work!

    So Rana Saab, why did you offer to provide a spy police escort if you always believed he was a spy? Wait, because in a country like Pakistan, raymond davis, criminals and politicians get escort while we pay taxes?

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  • Aug 19, 2011 - 12:07PM

    he was definitely a SPY, otherwise who wants to live on that land where no water, no electricity, no peace and no fuel for cars in 24X7 days a weak.

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