US citizen kidnapped, released within 1 hour

Published: September 13, 2011
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Malik Arshad was detained with his nephew on the Qambarani Road.

Malik Arshad was detained with his nephew on the Qambarani Road.

QUETTA: 

An American national of Pakistani origin and his nephew were first kidnapped and then released by unidentified abductors in a dramatic manner in Quetta on Monday afternoon. Police Superintendent Malik Arshad revealed that Zahid Hussain, a 33-year-old American national and his nephew Mubashar, a Pakistani national who is a  resident of Rawalpindi, had gone to the Customs House Quetta, to process the clearance of unpaid duty on a vehicle.

Customs officials told Hussain that he would have to go to Taftan, a town bordering with Iran, to register or obtain an NOC for the vehicle. They were accompanied by one of the customs officials, Mohammad Hassan, on their way to Taftan from Quetta when a group of armed men intercepted them on the Qambarani Road in Quetta. The assailants consequently kidnapped the two along with their vehicle, leaving behind the customs official.

In a surprise turn of events, the two men were suddenly freed in the Jinnah Town area after 45 minutes of captivity. The vehicle of the American national is still missing. Meanwhile, Home Secretary Naseebullah Bazai said the American national had come from England and he had been residing in Quetta for the last two to three days with his relative Mubashar. “They wanted to get the vehicle registered. We are still unaware of the details of where the vehicle was purchased from. They are being questioned,” he added.

A senior official, on the request of anonymity, told The Express Tribune that they were actually detained by some officials for questioning and after being interrogated they had been released. “They were travelling in an illegal vehicle,” said the official.Published in The Express Tribune, September 13th,  2011.

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Reader Comments (46)

  • biryani
    Sep 12, 2011 - 3:05PM

    what were they doing their….selling fruits?

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  • Sep 12, 2011 - 3:31PM

    @biryani
    Lolz…. yeah if you call Grenades -> Apples

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  • LOL
    Sep 12, 2011 - 3:33PM

    They were giving out candy and sweets to the locals there. Poor CIA agents, now they are in a mess!

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  • Ris
    Sep 12, 2011 - 3:37PM

    Everybody knows that its not safe for foreigners to just roam about as they see fit. So what were these 2 american “nationals”doing there?

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  • Salma
    Sep 12, 2011 - 3:48PM

    Welcome to Balochistan American Consulate.

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  • xOYA
    Sep 12, 2011 - 3:57PM

    When Pakistanis can roam abroad freely why cant Foreigners Roam easily here
    this is not fair . if they cannot come here then their govt should BAN all Pakistanis abroad Too
    . If we cannot treat guests in proper manner why should they accept us & why should they give us Aid .
    we Pakistanis are just becoming Selfish humans

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  • sashayub
    Sep 12, 2011 - 4:09PM

    even punjabis dont go to quetta without some reason, what the hell were these aliens doing there? buying khoobanis?

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  • THE
    Sep 12, 2011 - 4:24PM

    @xOYA: You are overreacting! Try going to the areas that these guys were going to and then tell us how it went! These guys could have roamed around the big cities all they wanted, Mr. Davis was roaming around Lahore with a fake licence plate and even shot two guys! Think about that for a minute, can a Pakistan do that?

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  • Mark
    Sep 12, 2011 - 4:26PM

    They may well be aid workers. Imagine the commitment to the welfare of others that taking this kind of risk implies. Regardless of their job we should pray for their safe return.

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  • Chengez Kengez K
    Sep 12, 2011 - 4:32PM

    It is time to give 48 hours deadline to all these foreign agents to leave Pakistan………That may be time economical method for everyone rather than picking them one by one.Recommend

  • Ris
    Sep 12, 2011 - 4:45PM

    @xOYA
    You misunderstood the comment. When I say they cannot roam as they please I say that because of safety concerns. Curb your excitement.

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  • Adil
    Sep 12, 2011 - 4:45PM

    Good it happened. Let the same treatment be meted out to them as was done by their very own Raymond Davis to our fellows. An eye for an eye…!!

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  • yasir mehmood
    Sep 12, 2011 - 4:52PM

    They are released. One of them was Pakistani and the other had dual nationality. Very poor reporting.

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  • Pundit
    Sep 12, 2011 - 5:08PM

    Raymond Davis II & III

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  • Maher
    Sep 12, 2011 - 5:09PM

    Must be Raymond Davi’s cousin….Good going., still a lot more …..

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  • sam
    Sep 12, 2011 - 5:34PM

    nothing to joke about or be happy for … not every American is CIA agent.
    God help this country.

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  • Faction
    Sep 12, 2011 - 5:44PM

    Not smart for Americans to be roaming around that part of the world.

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  • Realist.
    Sep 12, 2011 - 5:50PM

    They Have Been released.

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  • Siraj Ahsan
    Sep 12, 2011 - 6:09PM

    @biryani:
    cant agree more!

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  • Siraj Ahsan
    Sep 12, 2011 - 6:11PM

    The comments are so true and so nice that you can only laugh at them… I mean what in the world were they doing there…. If they are tourist then they are deranged and if they are operatives then they will manage themselves…

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  • Hatim
    Sep 12, 2011 - 6:31PM

    Those Americans were of Pakistani origin going by their name.

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  • TightDhoti
    Sep 12, 2011 - 6:48PM

    You all realise that they are Pakistani American? they could be from the area you know? Why does everything have to be a conspiracy?

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  • correctamundo
    Sep 12, 2011 - 7:15PM

    i agree with you siraj… the quick ending of abduction might have resulted when both parties recognized each other as “same side” or “brethren

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  • antony
    Sep 12, 2011 - 7:49PM

    No kidnapper will leave without taking something from the kidnapped . If the kidnapper is from some secret powerful organisation and just checked if these kidnapped ones are spies and finding not so were left scot free suits the story better than the above.

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  • Tariq
    Sep 13, 2011 - 2:33AM

    I guess to the Pakistanis in Pakistan who all want to leave, any one from the US, even a Pakistani who is an American is part of something sinister. Why dont you guys get alife

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  • Sun-Set
    Sep 13, 2011 - 11:23AM

    So much for following the local law. Didn’t anyone help this foreign lad to Do In Rome As Romans Do. I bet he did not know where Taftan or Iran is, rest aside the Taliban and Afghan activities there and here, or Baloch suspicion of outsiders. Be careful of “unpaid” clerks they can send you to your death if not paid right. Lucky for him, in a mater if moments this American-Paki could have been in the middle of another U.S-Pak media circus. Remember our 30 kids were picnicking in Taliban infested mountains on Eid Day, can you believe that? Govt of Hamid Karzai is working hard to get them out. I heard reckless young lads go there to buy cheap stolen cars and trucks risking to lose their necks.

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  • Princess
    Sep 13, 2011 - 12:25PM

    Why ? don’t they have the right to visit their loved ones?
    Think around the globe

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  • Ishrat Salim
    Sep 13, 2011 - 12:31PM

    @ Ris…pls read the news properly & not casually….there were only one American of Pakistani origin & his nephew – a Pakistani residence….you are from a lot of our own mindset people who just passes comments etc; without going into details…that is the reason of oue downfall in quality in every scope of life….decline in goverance & rule of law is a consequence of our this non-serious attitude –

    The custom guys were involved – definetely & that is why they tried to kidnap the 2 & left the custome guyt behind – which the kidnappers realised the blunder & left the 2 off as per the instruction of the customs guys lest they all wil get arrested of their involvement….but it is too late…??Recommend

  • j. von hettlingen
    Sep 13, 2011 - 5:02PM

    1) The Pakistani Taliban (TTP) has shown a taste for Swiss Emmental, not the cheese itself, but for a Swiss couple from Emmental – the Emme valley of Canton Bern. On July 1, 2011 the two were kidnapped in Pakistan’s volatile southwestern province Balochistan. It was the first such incident involving Swiss citizens in the region and the abducted were identified as David Och., 31, and Daniela Widmer., 28, both members of the Bernese police. Travelling in a blue Volkswagen van from Switzerland to India, Pakistan and Iran, the tourists arrived at Sirki checkpoint, where they were seized by gunmen in Lorali, north of Quetta, the capital of the sparsely populated Balochistan and taken to an unknown place. The two had been in Punjab province and were allowed to enter Balochistan, which is controlled by tribal police. Their abandoned vehicle was found later in Killi Nigah area, and the police learned their identities from driver’s licenses, passports and hotel bills. Balochistan is on the border with Iran and Afghanistan and has oil, gas and other mineral resources. Recently the province has seen a surge in unrest, caused by separatism, sectarian violence and Taliban insurgencies.

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  • j. von hettlingen
    Sep 13, 2011 - 5:03PM

    2) A few days later the TTP claimed responsible for the abduction of the two tourists. The Swiss Foreign Ministry confirmed the kidnapping, yet declined to comment. The Swiss media reported on the incident without much elaboration and treated it as an ordinary extortion act. They seemed to have relied on sources of limited insight and overseen the intricacies of the matter. The TTP is known for homegrown militants, who threaten Pakistan’s stability and were seen to have been behind the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in 2007, the attack on the naval base in Karachi in May 2011 and the training of the Times Square bomber arrested in May 2010. Not long ago Pakistani forces had launched a heavy offensive against the TTP in its stronghold in South Waziristan. This explained why Islamabad was so quiet about the kidnappers and little did the Swiss public know that Pakistan might be reluctant to deal with its enemy.
    Four weeks later Wali-ur-Rehman, the commander of the TTP told Pakistani journalists in Shawal, a town between North and South Wazirstan, his people had kidnapped the Swiss and they were held in North Waziristan. Rehman and many fighters were believed to have fled to the north, after having been driven out of the south and they had sworn to retaliate. In the past the U.S. had urged Pakistan to extend its offensive in North Waziristan, an important sanctuary for the Haqqani network of the Afghan Taliban, which plans attacks on the ISAF-forces in Afghanistan. Pakistan was hesitant to do so, stating its forces were overstretched.

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  • j. von hettlingen
    Sep 13, 2011 - 5:03PM

    3) Rehman demanded for the release of the Dr. Aafia Siddiqui held in U.S. custody. Furthermore he threatened to hit Western targets to avenge the killing of Osama bin Laden. Siddiqui, a MIT-educated neuro-scientist and mother of three, was convicted of having grabbed an unattended rifle during an interrogation in July 2008 at a police station in Afghanistan and opened fire on U.S. servicemen and government agents. She missed, and was herself shot in the struggle. In September 2010 she was found guilty of attempted murder by the New York federal court and is serving 86 years in a Texan jail. Rehman stated that if Siddiqui is not freed, the Sharia court will decide on the fate of the Swiss hostages. Siddiqui, dubbed as “Lady al Qaeda” in the tabloids, was one of the most wanted women in the world prior to her arrest in 2008. Her second husband, Ammar al-Baluchi is nephew of the 9/11 mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. The couple was suspected of planning al Qaeda attacks on U.S. soil. Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) kept an eye on Siddiqui at the behest of the CIA, after her name had been mentioned by Mohammed, the 9/11 instigator. Some guessed Mohammed might have spoken under duress, as he had been waterboarded several times a day for a while.

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  • jia
    Sep 13, 2011 - 6:18PM

    u all guys can only speak 4 them badly but think of their family how can they survive wdout them.. they were in queeta for selling car but not for all these bad happenings.Recommend

  • Adeel759
    Sep 13, 2011 - 6:43PM

    @TightDhoti. Everything has to bconspiracy in pakistan because they are immune to truth. They were never told truth about how pakistan is run and how world is run, when truth is kept away from people they adhere to rumors and conspiracy theories, that’s why everything done by pakistanis is correct and everything done by others is dead wrong. They are ignoring the fact that only one is US national, other is pakistani, pure-pak-is-tani. Why they are released in 1 hour, because one is American. Abductors knew, America will come looking for them, and when America is in pursuit you can run but not hide. With this incident, I can rest assure about my safety when I next time travel to motherland. Bravo America, Naam Hi Kaafi Hai.Recommend

  • Adeel759
    Sep 13, 2011 - 6:57PM

    No matter how much you hate america, go check with your Pak-Fauj, Politicians, Govt, Bureaucrats, Economists, and this and that, final destination of your hope for survival rests with America. Atleast for now. Otherwise you are a bankrupt nation, financially, morally, mentally, psychologically, socially and friendly. You are so alone. World is so done with you. So truly remarked, Madelaine Albright, US Sec of State, that Pakistan has become migraine for the world, I wonder any sane person would disagree? An expatriate is kidnaped and these knuckleheads are conspiring as usual.Recommend

  • Babloo
    Sep 13, 2011 - 8:49PM

    Kidnapped and then released in one hour !
    Guys do you have any doubt about who the kidnappers were and who they work for ?
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  • Sep 13, 2011 - 9:41PM

    Probably the chap was snooping around and came back

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  • j. von hettlingen
    Sep 13, 2011 - 9:59PM

    continuation
    4) Siddiqui’s trial was highly criticized in Pakistan and the questions surrounding five unaccounted years since her disappearance from Karachi in 2003 were intriguing. Prime Minister Yousaf Gilani had called her a “daughter of the nation”. Being a cause celebre for human rights activists, Islamic terrorists and the political parties, a rally was held in September 2010 in Karachi, which attracted over 300.000 supporters. In December the top al Qaeda ideologue Abu Yahya al Libi urged Muslims to wage jihad on America, to avenge Siddiqui’s conviction. The TTP is not the first group to demand for Siddiqui’s release. In February 2011, the Pakistani government tried to trade the CIA contractor Raymond Davis for Siddiqui, but in the end it gave in and released Davis after heavy U.S. pressure.
    On Fareed Zacharia’s show of August 1, 2010 Senator John Kerry spoke about the drawdown of U.S.-troops in Afghanistan and a political settlement with the Taliban, a concern also shared by the late Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan. Fareed confronted Pakistan’s ambassador to the U.S., Husain Haqqani with the revelation of the Wiki logs, which accused Pakistan of supporting the Afghan Taliban.

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  • j. von hettlingen
    Sep 13, 2011 - 9:59PM

    5) After the show, I wrote a comment to Fareed, which was published in the “Viewers’ Voices”, and proposed the Swiss to invite the Taliban to Switzerland. My idea was that the Taliban might accept a neutral ground to air their views, meet and negotiate with the Americans. One year later, the Pakistani Taliban had the opportunity to snatch two Swiss and hold them as hostages. How this affair will end depends on the gambit of the involving parties.
    Are the Swiss and the Americans working on a rescue plan? The U.S. could easily send a stealth helicopter from their base in Afghanistan to free the hostages, if one knows where they are held. This plot would be more realistic than the one the Swiss connived in 2010 to free two incarcerated Swiss citizens in Libya.
    So far the Swiss Foreign Ministry has disclosed little about what is going on behind closed doors. Some media cast a doubt on the Taliban’s move and maintained it has made an unrealistic demand, as Switzerland is not involved in Afghanistan or Pakistan. It all depends on how determined the TTP is to exert pressure on the Swiss. It looks as if Islamabad does not want to meddle and let the TTP deal with Bern, as it also suits Pakistan well to have Siddiqui released.

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  • j. von hettlingen
    Sep 13, 2011 - 10:01PM

    6) Although Switzerland is an outsider, it is not far-fetched that the TTP wants to get the Swiss on board. This neutral country might be able to bring Karzai’s government, Pakistan, the U.S. and the Taliban together for constructive talks. In light of the Americans leaving Afghanistan raises the question, what would happen to the region, if Hamid Karzai fails to maintain stability. Many countries – especially India and China – are concerned that Afghanistan would fall anew into chaos, if Karzai and the Taliban cannot make peace. Maybe Switzerland would succeed in bringing the aforementioned parties to a table. As China has economic interests in Afghanistan, it will keep a hawkish eye on the development there. The U.S. can then relinquish its task to other players in the region and devote itself to new priorities elsewhere.
    What else could Switzerland do to enhance the chances of the release of the two hostages? It will be interesting to see, what comes out behind closed doors. I just hope that the two haven’t fallen victims to drone attacks.

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  • j. von hettlingen
    Sep 13, 2011 - 10:02PM

    BIG THANKS FOR YOUR ATTENTION AND INTEREST!

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  • Sep 14, 2011 - 8:16AM

    I guess this is something to do with double cabin Hilux. It is a magnet for car snatchers in rural areas mostly, though in city it isn’t safe either. As for Americans loitering there must be aid workers or diplomats or hunting for baluchitherium.

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  • T Khan
    Sep 14, 2011 - 12:01PM

    Interesting…people have probably stopped reading the news itself and post comments after going through the headline.

    They were not white skinned americans, but Pakistan born US national…so he was not technically a foreigner walking in Balouchistan or whatever…he was a normal looking Pakistani probably in a good looking car in Balouchistan.

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  • Mughal
    Sep 16, 2011 - 3:37AM

    Well all of you who are just commenting on the above news dont think at once that these two may have a family. You all are just enjoying by commenting. Well i wish that what is happening to them there in quetta. You all should see a most worst position in your life then you all will feel that WHAT IS PAIN. You all are just PUPPET IN HATS.

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  • BABAR
    Sep 16, 2011 - 9:22AM

    @Ishrat Salim: u kno Saleem Bhai, You are right, people are making fun of most everything these days. Why is it happening in a poor country where nothing is going in the right direction. There should be study on this behavior. You know in this critical time the booming industry is “fashion , foods and entertainment” maybe the people have given-up on authorities’ authority. Its also is scary if pilots, engineers, surgeons, pharmacists, soldiers and parents of young children join the masses in delusion-ism. Where are we going where to start from__ you or me can’t change much. It must come from top to be really symbolic and effective. I mean here is Taliban who can’t sleep without seeing the blood of innocent people including women and children. Then there are people so lost and sold to their agenda of political hatred or private ambitions that they are just blind to the pain suffering the innocent. Is there any hope left now?

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  • Zahjd Hussain
    Oct 7, 2011 - 1:12PM

    Kidnapping report was so poor;no body try to find the truth.Even peapole made the coments.loughable and funny,I am pakistani US citizen.Proud to be Amrican reason when I was in problem my goverment was behind me.I like tobe proud of Pakistan,but I do not have any reason to be proud.It is sad. I was travling from manchester UK to Islamabad with my son Hamza Hussain sixteen years old liked to see the world specially his father’s town,in Pakistan we met bunch of thugs and crupt officialls customm house.

    is you know any r .eason let me k met bunchnow,

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  • Nov 5, 2011 - 2:36PM

    @xOYA:
    Hi friend
    I was kidnaped in Quetta,now I back home with my familly.You will surprise that I am a cab driver in washington Dc.That wasmy tour from Mancheter to Islamabad with my son sixteen years old.Wanted to sea dad’s home country.I am not rgret to do so,You did not got my statmen.
    I have a reason to be proud of USA becauseI amin trouble whole country is behind me,I love Pakistan but have no reason to be proud of Pakistan,Pakistan is not a nation it is a crowd.There are some more thought need to share if you like to know truth,Because I like to see Pkistan as strong country so I should proud of it.Where every one should feel,if he is in problem his country sport him.Forgiveme if I hearted your feellngs. I will be back in Quetta to get my car back.

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