American Mystery in Pakistan: Cops Release Kidnapping Suspect Sketch

Pakistani police today released a sketch of a person believed to be involved in the abduction of an American citizen in Pakistan, even as local investigators and the FBI admit they have no solid leads as to the whereabouts of 70-year-old Warren Weinstein.

The black-and-white sketch shows a young man with a boyish round face, dark stubble and medium-length dark hair. The FBI is investigating the case along with no less than six different groups of Pakistani officials, both police and U.S. officials admit they do not even know whether the American development expert is still alive. Investigators said they will be administering lie detector tests on Weinstein's local guards and drivers, who provided initial details of the kidnapping.

Weinstein was snatched out of his home in Lahore, where he has lived for the last seven years, over the weekend but no group has come forward to claim the kidnapping or issue demands in exchange for Weinstein's release in the following days -- an unusual development which nurtured fears by some officials over Weinstein's fate. But one Pakistani intelligence official told ABC News there was no evidence to suggest the abductors had intended to kill Weinstein or that he had been accidentally killed.

The intelligence official said there was evidence of a struggle and likely a head wound, but the amount of blood found in the home was not unusual following a kidnapping.

Weinstein, who worked with USAID in the 1990s, has been living privately in Pakistan and working for the U.S.-based J.E. Austin Associates, a company that "assists businesses and governments to achieve sustainable, equitable, business-led economic growth," according to the company's website.

Weinstein's friends and colleagues describe him as a diligent worker and dedicated to helping Pakistani people.

"He is a tireless worker for development in Pakistan," said Geoff Quartermaine Bastin, who worked with Weinstein after meeting him six years ago. Bastin said Weinstein "worked 18-hour days, three phones at once while talking to a fourth person at the table."

"He is very smart, very motivated and loved Pakistan and its people. He is careless of his health and safety going everywhere to push his projects," Bastin said.

Weinstein suffers from a heart condition, and his employer released a long list of medications that he takes, appealing to his abductors to provide them for him.

Some in Pakistan have speculated privately that Weinstein was not a development worker and worked in intelligence for the U.S. Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah publicly announced his suspicions, telling local media that Weinstein was involved in "quite suspect" intelligence-gathering for the U.S. government and compared him to Raymond Davis, the American CIA contractor who was jailed in Pakistan earlier this year for shooting two men on the streets of Lahore.

U.S. diplomats said Weinstein is not connected to any U.S. intelligence groups, and no Pakistani official has publicly said so other than Sanaullah.

America to Work Through 'Very Difficult Problems' With Pakistan

Weinstein's kidnapping comes as U.S. and Pakistani officials are attempting to mend a rocky relationship strained first by the Raymond Davis affair and later by the U.S.'s unilateral raid of Osama bin Laden's compound deep in Pakistani territory in May.

"We consider our relationship with Pakistan to be of paramount importance," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday at the National Defense University. "We think it is very much in America's interest. We think it is in the long-term interest of Pakistan for us to work through what are very difficult problems in that relationship."

Weinstein is the first American working privately in Pakistan to be kidnapped since Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter who was abducted in January 2002 and later beheaded by al Qaeda operatives.

Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...