Lahore: Abductors want high ransom: IG
LAHORE: The provincial police chief for the first time on Monday acknowledged that the Western aid workers “have been kidnapped for huge ransom”. “That is all we can confirm at the moment,” IG Javed Iqbal told reporters. He also confirmed that the kidnappers behind the recent high-profile abductions, including that of American expert Warren Weinstein, Shahbaz Taseer and Amir Malik have demanded billions of rupees as ransom.
“They have also separate demands, apart from ransom,” the police chief further told the reporters, after presiding over a high-level meeting of the Police Reforms Committee. He also said that the kidnappings “are a very serious case and the law-enforcement agencies are leaving no stone unturned to ensure their safe release.”
Well-informed sources, when contacted, also confided to TheNation that the militants holding high-profile persons wanted their swap in order to get back their commanders now with the security forces.
Javed Iqbal further said that German and Italian aid workers recently abducted from Multan had also been kidnapped for ransom. He said that the federal security institutions were also probing into these abductions and hoped that there would be a breakthrough in this regard very soon. The IG also said that the law-enforcement agencies were also investigating whether the abductees had been involved in any sort of secret activities.
The fresh kidnappings bring to three the number of Westerners abducted since July last year in the Punjab, apart from another high-profile abduction of Shahbaz Taseer, the son of slain Governor Salman Taseer.
In August 2011, militants abducted American development expert Warren Weinstein, 70, from his office-cum-residence in Lahore’s Model Town area. Government officials say the Taliban are holding foreigners and Salman Taseer’s son and Amir Malik, the son-in-law of former Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen Tariq Majid.
Meanwhile, police in Kot Addu have arrested four people in connection with last week’s kidnapping of two Western aid workers. “The four suspects were under observation since the kidnapping. We traced some calls back to them,” another police official said.
Officials say militant groups such as the Taliban are also involved in kidnappings. Such incidents have put off long-term investors.