US Jew Abducted in Pakistan
Warren Weinstein, a US Jew working as a development contractor in Pakistan, has been kidnapped from his home in Lahore.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 8/13/2011, 9:09 PM
An American Jew was abducted by gunmen who broke into his house in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore on Saturday, the Associated Press reports.
The US Embassy identified the victim as Warren Weinstein. According to reports Weinstein serves as the Pakistan director for J.E. Austin Associates, a development contractor that works with the aid arm of the American government.
Weinstein's Linked In website profile says he is based in Lahore and has been in Pakistan for seven years. Calls to the company headquarters in Virginia were not immediately answered, but its website describes Weinstein as a development expert with 25 years experience and a Ph.D. in international law and economics.
Pakistani police said Weinstein was believed to be in his 60s, and had returned to Lahore the previous night from the Pakistani capital, Islamabad. He had told his staff that would be wrapping up his final project and leaving Pakistan by Monday.
"He's a short, funny man with a quick wit," said Raza Rumi, a Pakistani journalist who last saw Weinstein about a year ago and said the American could speak a fair amount of Urdu. "He's a very laid-back guy, not too worried about security issues, not really paranoid at all."
The unusually brazen raid illustrates the threat to foreigners in terror-wracked, US-allied Pakistan.
According to Pakistani police, two of the abductors showed up at Weinstein's house and persuaded the guards there to open the gate by saying they wanted to give them food – an act of sharing common during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which started in August.
As the guards opened the gate, five other men suddenly appeared. The assailants, who were armed, punched and kicked the security guards, overpowering them before storming the house. Several more abductors were believed to have entered through the back of the residence.
The gunmen snatched Weinstein from his bedroom, hustling him out of the house and into a nearby vehicle. They did not take any other items from the house, police official Attiqur Rehman said.
Police declined to speculate on the motive, and no group immediately claimed responsibility. Security forces are checking vehicles at posts on the outskirts of the city in hopes of finding Weinstein, said Ghulam Mahmood Dogar, a deputy inspector-general of police.
Earlier this week, the US State Department issued a travel warning for its citizens saying that American diplomats are facing increased harassment and they, along with aid workers and journalists, have been falsely identified as spies in the local media.