Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

US man abducted in Pakistan rescued

Warren Weinstein, who was abducted from his home in Lahore, Pakistan, last Saturday, has been rescued by police

Police in Pakistan have safely recovered a US development expert who was kidnapped almost two weeks ago in the eastern city of Lahore, a senior official said.

Using tips from arrested suspects, officers traced Warren Weinstein, 70, to Khushab city, which is approximately 125 miles north west of Lahore.

Lahore police chief Malik Ahmed Raza confirmed that Mr Weinstein was freed during an early morning operation, although the US embassy in Islamabad could not immediately confirm that Mr Weinstein had been found.

Mr Weinstein was abducted before dawn on August 13 after gunmen tricked his guards and broke into his home. He is the country director in Pakistan for JE Austin Associates, a US-based firm that advises a range of Pakistani business and government sectors.

Authorities were frustrated for more than a week with no solid clues about who abducted him, but that changed when police said they had arrested three people suspected of belonging to the kidnapping gang.

Mr Raza said their arrests were made after officers tracked mobile phone numbers and the information they provided was critical to finding Mr Weinstein.

Kidnappings are common in Pakistan, and foreigners are occasional targets. Criminal gangs are suspected in most abductions, but militants are also believed to use the tactic to raise money through ransom.

Mr Weinstein, who has a home in Rockville, Maryland, has worked in Pakistan for several years and speaks Urdu.

JE Austin Associates has stressed Mr Weinstein's commitment to Pakistan's economic development and said he worked with a wide range of Pakistani government agencies.

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