In Pakistan, US Aid Worker's Kidnapping Seen to Justify Tighter Restrictions on Foreigners

Members of the Pakistan police force. Photo by: Simon Taylor / CC BY-NC-ND

A Pakistani police official implied kidnapped U.S. aid worker Warren Weinstein could have had ”appropriate security arrangements“ in his home if only he had gotten himself registered with the police.

Ghullam Mehmood Dogar, an official of the Lahore Police, said he found it “regrettable” that Weinstein failed to register himself despite having lived in Lahore for many weeks. The statement is perceived to give justification for the additional restrictions being imposed on foreigners’ movements in the country.

According to Dogar, the police is recommending to compel all foreigners to get registered with the police, and that their sponsors would be held liable if they do not follow the requirements. All foreigners’ homes must also have CCTV cameras, barbed wires, barriers and security guards. The police will also check these homes to ensure that security measures are being taken.

For Weinstein’s colleague at the U.S. consulting firm J.E. Austin & Associates however, registration with the police is unnecessary.

“Weinstein was staying here legally. The authorities should have been aware of his presence,” Weinstein’s colleague, a senior Pakistani employee who asked not to be named, said.

Weinstein, an American working on a U.S. Agency for International Development project to boost competitiveness among industries in Pakistan, was abducted from his home on Saturday, Aug. 13. As of Aug. 17, no word has been heard from his abductors.

Meanwhile, colleagues of kidnapped Italian aid worker Francesco Azzara, who was kidnapped in Sudan on Sunday, Aug. 14, also await communication from his abductors.

Azzara is reportedly being held by members of Rezegat, a pro-government tribe that is aligned with Janjaweed militants in Darfur.

Azzara’s colleagues in Emergency, a medical aid group that offers free services to the local community, said that they did not expect the kidnapping and urged that Azzara be released unharmed.

Read more development aid news online, and subscribe to The Development Newswire to receive top international development headlines from the world’s leading donors, news sources and opinion leaders — emailed to you FREE every business day.

About the author

  • Che de los Reyes

    As a senior staff writer, Che focuses on international development breaking news coverage as well as interviews and features. Prior to joining Devex, Che handled communications for local and international development NGOs and government institutions in the Philippines.