Pakistani police still don't know who kidnapped Weinstein

Warren Weinstein

More than 24 hours after the kidnapping of American contractor Warren Weinstein, Pakistani police have no clues about who's responsible or why.

DC resident Nadia Naviwala, who's family comes from Pakistan, says the country is growing more militant and more anti-American.

"It's really unfortunate and tragic to hear that something like this has happened".

Pakistani Police say between eight and ten gunmen stormed the Lahore, Pakistan compound where Weinstein lived early Saturday morning.

Investigators say the group tied up three guards, and pistol-whipped a driver before forcing him to lead them to Weinstein's bedroom.

Police say the men put Weinstein into a car and drove off.

There has been no contact since.

Detectives are investigating to see if this was an inside job by employees at the house.

Experts say it's happened in other kidnappings.

"Some house help is colluding with these intruders", says Moeed Yusuf, who was born and raised in Pakistan but now lives in the DC area..

"(They) know how to enter the house, how to get to the bedroom,
How to get to the place where the actual person is."

Christine Fair is an assistant professor at Georgetown University, who's lived off and on in Pakistan since 1991.

"He was an easy target, he's an elderly gentleman", she adds.

Was this an act by Islamist militants, kidnappers trying to get ransom money, or something else?

Fair fears a militant agenda is at work in the Lahore area.

"The thing that's scary about that", she says "if it's true, is that they tend to be al-Qaeda affiliated, so these are the nastiest groups."

But no-one is sure why this happened.

No-one has been at the Weinstein home to comment.

Weinstein himself had told associates he hoped to return to the US by Monday.

Pakistani police still don't know who kidnapped Weinstein

ISLAMABAD (AP) - Authorities were still searching Sunday for clues about who kidnapped an American in Pakistan but came up with no leads after questioning the guards at his house when he was abducted, police said Sunday.

Gunmen snatched development expert Warren Weinstein before dawn Saturday after tricking his guards and breaking into his house in the eastern city of Lahore, a brazen raid that heightened fears among aid workers, diplomats and other foreigners already worried about Islamic militancy and anti-U.S. sentiment in Pakistan.

Weinstein is the Pakistan country director for J.E. Austin Associates, an Arlington, Va.-based development contractor that has received millions of dollars from the aid arm of the U.S. government, according to a profile on LinkedIn, a networking website. He had told his staff that would be wrapping up his latest project and moving out of Pakistan by Monday, just a couple days after he was kidnapped. Weinstein has a home in Rockville, Md., though no one answered the door at the house when a reporter visited Saturday afternoon.

Police were hoping the guards could shed some light on who targeted Weinstein but came up empty-handed, said Shoaib Khurram, a senior police official in Lahore.

"We do not yet have any concrete information that there was a specific threat," Khurram told The Associated Press.

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

J.E. Austin Associates stressed Weinstein's commitment to Pakistan's economic development in a written statement and said he has worked with a wide range of Pakistani government agencies, including the Pakistan Furniture Development Company and the Pakistan Dairy Development Company.

"His efforts to help make Pakistani industries more competitive have resulted in many hundreds of well-paying jobs for Pakistani citizens and contributed to raising the standard of living in the communities where these businesses are located," it said.

Shahab Khawaja, a former official at Pakistan's Ministry of Industries and Production, said Weinstein has been working in Pakistan since 2004 and was scheduled to finish his contract with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) on August 15. The two men, who are close friends, met in the capital, Islamabad, in recent days.

"I was shocked and deeply disturbed by his kidnapping," said Khawaja.

Police said Weinstein, believed to be in his 60s, had returned to his home in Lahore on Friday evening from Islamabad.

According to Pakistani police, two of the kidnappers showed up at Weinstein's house Saturday and told the guards inside the gate of the walled compound that they wanted to give them food, an act of sharing common during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The guards opened the gate, and five other men suddenly appeared. The armed assailants overpowered the guards and stormed into the house. Some gunmen are believed to have entered through the back. They snatched the American from his bedroom but took nothing else.

Hussain Bhatti, who worked with Weinstein in Pakistan, said the American decided to replace the security company guarding his house in recent months because of general threats to U.S. citizens working in Pakistan. But he did not know who would have targeted Weinstein.

Americans in Pakistan are considered especially at risk because militants oppose Islamabad's alliance with Washington and the war in Afghanistan. The unilateral U.S. raid that killed al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden on May 2 in northwest Pakistan only added to tensions between the two countries.