U.S. Development Worker Abducted From His Home in Pakistani City of Lahore
A U.S. citizen has been abducted from his home in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore, U.S. Embassy and police officials said today.
The U.S. is working with local authorities to secure the man’s release, Alberto Rodriguez, a spokesman at the American embassy in Islamabad, said by phone, identifying him as Warren Weinstein. The LinkedIn networking website lists a Warren Weinstein as the Pakistan country director for J.E. Austin Associates Inc. since 2004. It says he has worked on dairy production, horticulture and manufacturing projects, some funded by the U.S. government.
Between eight and 10 people broke into the American’s house this morning at a time when guards were busy preparing for an early meal during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, according to Abdul Razaq Cheema, a Lahore police official, who spoke to the GEO television channel.
U.S. relations with Pakistan have deteriorated since Raymond Davis, a contractor working for the Central Intelligence Agency, killed two men in February in a Lahore street. Ties suffered a major setback when U.S. Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden in the Pakistani army garrison town of Abbottabad on May 2. U.S. officials later said Pakistan had not been informed in advance of the raid over concerns those hiding bin Laden would be tipped off.
Arlington, Virginia-based J.E. Austin Associates has among others aided programs to develop Pakistan’s dairy farming, according to the company’s website. It lists Warren Weinstein as the company’s chief representative in Pakistan, saying he had worked in international development organizations for 25 years. A call to the company’s U.S. headquarters was not answered.
The State Department in its latest travel advisory for the South Asian country warned that the presence of al-Qaeda, Taliban militants and local sectarian groups posed a potential danger to U.S. citizens. “The kidnapping of Pakistani citizens and other foreign nationals, usually for ransom, continues to increase dramatically nationwide,” it said.
In May a U.S. consulate vehicle was attacked in the northwestern city of Peshawar, killing one person and injuring a dozen, including two U.S. employees of the mission. Unidentified gunmen killed six local staff members of World Vision International, a U.S.-based Christian charity in March last year.
To contact the reporter on this story: Haris Anwar in Islamabad at firstname.lastname@example.org