Entries in Pakistan (29)


Two South Florida Men Charged in Alleged Terror Plot

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.) -- Two South Florida men were charged Friday with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists and conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction, federal officials said.

The suspects are brothers -- Raees Alam Qazi, 20, and Sheheryar Alam Qazi, 30.

They were both identified as naturalized citizens from Pakistan. They made their first court appearance Friday afternoon in federal court in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

The indictment alleges that between July 2011 and Nov. 29, 2012, the suspects were conspiring to "provide material support and resources -- including property, services, funding, lodging, communications equipment, personnel and transportation -- knowing and intending that this support be used in preparation for and in carrying out a violation of law -- namely, a conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction."


The indictment also alleges that the suspects were "conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction (explosives) against persons and property within the United States" during the same timeframe.

"The FBI's number one priority is counterterrorism and we continue to work with our partners to protect the U.S. and its people from harm," said acting Special Agent in Charge Michael Steinbach of the FBI's Miami Division in a news release. "To be clear, this is not an indictment against a particular community or religion. Instead, today's indictment charges two individuals for conspiring to provide material support to terrorists and to use a weapon of mass destruction."

One official knowledgeable of the case described the man's intent as "serious," but the source said it did not appear that an attack was imminent.

"This was not a sting," sources told ABC News, adding that the younger brother had been in contact with overseas radicals, possibly connected to al Qaeda.

The FBI found evidence that the younger brother had been monitoring recent FBI "sting" cases, the sources said. Infiltrating the alleged conspiracy was a "non-starter," authorities said.

If convicted, the defendants could face a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison for the conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists charge and a life sentence on the conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction charge.

Defense attorneys representing the men did not return calls or emails from ABC News.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Wife Pleads for Release of Md. Man Held by Al Qaeda

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- On the first anniversary of his kidnapping, the wife of a 71-year-old Maryland man abducted in Pakistan and held by al Qaeda is pleading for his release, saying he is "not in good health" and needs immediate attention from doctors.

"One year ago my husband, Warren Weinstein, was kidnapped while working in Pakistan," said Elaine Weinstein in a statement released Monday. She said that her husband has a heart condition, high blood pressure and severe asthma. "We fear that Warren's health will deteriorate if he is not allowed to see the doctors and specialists that have helped keep him alive in recent years."

Elaine Weinstein also said her family was "devastated that it has been a year since he has been with us… Our grandchildren are growing and changing so fast. They miss their grandfather and ask for him every day. It is so difficult to explain why he can't be with them."

Weinstein, a former Peace Corps and USAID official, was working for a private contracting company in Lahore, Pakistan when gunmen broke into his house and took him away. He had told employees he was due to finish his work for J.E. Austin and leave Pakistan very soon.

Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri first claimed that al Qaeda was holding Weinstein in December 2011, and implied that he would use his hostage as a bargaining chip to free "captive soldiers of al Qaeda."

"[President] Obama has the power, capacity and authority to free [Weinstein]," said Zawahiri. "He could also leave him in captivity for years, and if he does something stupid, kill him."

In March, Zawahiri demanded the release of Pakistani doctor Aafia Siddiqui, "blind sheikh" Omar Abdel-Rahman and members of Osama bin Laden's family in return for Weinstein.

In May, Al Qaeda released a tape of Weinstein in which he begs President Obama to give in to the demands of the terrorist organization to save his life.

"My life is in your hands, Mr. President," Warren Weinstein says in the video, which was released. "If you accept the demands, I live. If you don't accept the demands, then I die. It's important that you accept the demands and act quickly and don't delay."

"I've done a lot of service for my country, and I would hope that my country will now look after me and take care of me and meet the demands of the mujahedeen, he continued."

In today's statement, Elaine Weinstein says her husband "loves Pakistan and lived there for eight years so he could dedicate his time and energy to working with the people."

"My only hope is that Warren will safely come home and be with me, our children and grandchildren, and the people who love us."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


No Stowaways Found in Suspect Containers on Cargo Ship

ABC News(NEWARK, N.J.) -- More than nine hours after New Jersey port officials thought they heard faint "knocking" coming from a container on a cargo ship that had been at sea for weeks, no stowaways have been found, officials at the port said.

Authorities said they will continue to search the dozens of containers aboard a cargo ship that arrived in Newark Port from India, but the containers believed most likely to hold the stowaways had been cleared.

The ordeal began around 3 a.m. when officials conducting a routine check of the cargo ship believed they may have heard faint knocking coming from one of the containers onboard.

Within hours, emergency medical teams, police and federal law enforcement converged on the port as customs officials checked each container and port equipment operators raced to dig out the suspected containers. The ship, which came from India, had been out to sea for more than two weeks prior to docking, leading authorities to fear for the health of the alleged stowaways. A string of ambulances and other emergency vehicles waited just outside the port.

The ambulances have since been sent back to their regular duties.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Pakistani Beauty Queen Charged in Alleged Mortgage Scam

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A Pakistani beauty queen has been charged with scamming dozens of San Jose, Calif., families in what prosecutors say was a phony mortgage refinancing scheme.

Saman Hasnain, who won the 2008 Mrs. Pakistan World beauty pageant, has been charged with 19 felony counts of conspiracy to commit grand theft. Her husband, Jawad, is facing an additional nine counts for allegedly luring even more victims between 2006 and 2010 in a fraudulent 10-unit condominium redevelopment.

Prosecutors say Hasnain, described as having "almond shaped eyes, flawless skin, and full beautiful lips" on her pageant profile, relied heavily on her looks to entice her victims.

Between 2008 and 2010, she and her husband allegedly posted fliers and ads in local ethnic supermarkets in the San Jose area, promising homeowners they could secure new mortgages for them at cheaper rates.

Given Hasnain's high profile, word of their so-called business endeavour spread, and eventually, between 80 and 100 homeowners had signed up, prosecutors say.

But the new, affordable mortgages never materialized.

According to the Santa Clara District Attorney's Office, the couple put their victims' money into an escrow account, and promised a full refund if they couldn't get the loans refinanced.

But the fine print of the contracts allowed Jawad to withdraw everything from the escrow account. A number of victims lost their homes as a result.

Prosecutors have charged the couple with grand theft, because they say the Hasnains made no effort to get the loans modified, and never refunded any of the money, despite repeated pleas from their victims.

If convicted, Saman could face at least four years behind bars, and Jawad close to 20. But there's a catch.

Earlier this month, the couple left for Lahore, Pakistan -- leaving no indication they intend to return. Because Pakistan has no extradition treaty with the United States, it's possible the couple could stay there indefinitely, meaning they may never face trial in the United States.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Judge to CIA Contractor: No Gunslinging in Colorado

Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images(DENVER) -- Raymond Davis, the CIA contractor who sparked a months-long international drama when he shot and killed two men in broad daylight on the streets of Pakistan in January, appeared in a Denver court Tuesday after being charged with a felony for his part in a skirmish in a bagel shop parking lot.

Rob McCallum, a spokesman for the court who attended the hearing, told ABC News Davis was calm as he was read the charges against him, including second degree assault -- a felony that carries a minimum mandatory sentence of five years in prison.  He was taken into custody after the hearing and a Colorado judge set bond at $10,000.

During a discussion of one provision of the assault charge -- specifically one that would at least temporarily strip Davis of his personal firearm -- an attorney for Davis revealed that after his troubled experience working for the CIA in Pakistan, Davis has become a firearms instructor often working in the Washington, D.C., area.  The judge ruled that Davis would be allowed to use his firearm, but not in Colorado and only under supervision in the D.C. area, McCallum said.

Davis has not pleaded in the case and is not expected back in court until a preliminary hearing in December.  An attorney for Davis, William Frankfurt, did not respond to requests for comment for this report.

Davis has already been the subject of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice for the deadly Pakistan shooting -- part of a promise Sen. John Kerry made to Pakistani officials in an effort to secure Davis' release from Pakistani prison in February.  But a spokesperson for the DOJ refused to answer any of ABC News' questions Monday on the status of that investigation, seven months after Davis came home.

According to police, Davis, 37, and another man who identified himself as Jeff Maes, got into a verbal then physical altercation over a parking spot in front of a Denver bagel shop over the weekend.

"He literally parked his car behind me and started shouting at me and I said, 'You need to relax.'  And he got out of the car," Maes told ABC News' Denver affiliate 7News.  "When I got hit, I went back, I hit my back straight on the concrete and then, I don't know, I must've got up.  I looked, he's standing there and I got up to defend myself and started again."

Maes said his two daughters, six and eight years old, cried after witnessing the fight.

Police arrested Davis and initially charged him with a pair of misdemeanors, noting that he was "the aggressor" in the fight.  He was released on $1,750 bond, but Monday a Colorado district attorney announced Davis was to be charged with second degree assault.  He is also charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct, the DA's office said.

For a man whose job was to stay in the shadows, Davis found himself at the center of international spotlight for weeks after he was arrested in Pakistan Jan. 27 following the fatal shooting of two men on the streets of Lahore, Pakistan.

Davis was charged with the double murder and quickly questions emerged about who he was and for whom he worked.  The official U.S. government line -- even reaching as high as President Obama -- was that Davis was just a "diplomat" who believed he was being robbed and should have been released due to diplomatic immunity.

But nearly a month after his arrest, U.S. officials told ABC News Davis was actually an independent contractor working for the CIA in Pakistan.

As high-level negotiations strained and the already rocky relationship between the U.S. and Pakistan worsened, the U.S. found an unusual way out of the diplomatic rift in March: the payment of "blood money" to the victims of the crime in exchange for Davis' release -- a somewhat common practice sanctioned by Pakistani law.

Both the Douglas County Sheriff's Office, whose officers arrested Davis, and the district attorney's office, which charged him with the felony, told ABC News that Davis' notoriety or government connections would not impact the proceedings against him.

"It doesn't matter who you are, you're all treated the same," Douglas County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Sgt. Ron Hanavan said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


CIA Contractor Charged with Felony in Colorado Parking Lot Fight

Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images(HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo.) -- Many in Pakistan feel that Raymond Davis got away with murder last January when the CIA contractor shot dead two men in Lahore he claimed were trying to rob him.

Davis, who was freed last March after $2.3 million in compensation was made to the victims' families, is now facing a felony assault charge in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.

The 37-year-old was formally charged Monday with getting into a fight with another man over a parking space at a local bagel shop last Saturday.

Jeffrey Maes claims that Davis hauled off on him and kept punching him after he got off the pavement.  Police said that other people in the parking lot broke up the fight.

Davis initially faced misdemeanor charges of assault and disorderly conduct before posting $1,750.  The charge was then upgraded to second-degree assault.

If found guilty, Davis could be sentenced to five years in prison.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


CIA Contractor Once Arrested in Pakistan Busted in Colorado

Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images(HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo.) -- Police in Colorado arrested a CIA contractor Saturday morning who was held by the Pakistani government earlier this year for shooting two men to death who the American claimed attempted to rob him.

According to Douglas County deputies, Raymond Davis got into an physical altercation with Jeffrey Maes over a parking spot at a bagel shop.  By the time police responded to the call, onlookers had broken up the fight.

Davis was then arrested and charged with third-degree assault and disorderly conduct before being released after posting $1,750.  The other man, who received minor injuries, refused treatment at the scene and was released.

It was in late January 2011 that Davis was taken into custody after he said that he killed two men in self-defense while walking in Lahore, Pakistan.

While the State Department asserted that Davis was protected by diplomatic immunity, Pakistani authorities were under pressure to prosecute Davis because of widespread anti-American sentiment in the country.

After Davis' cover was blown by a British newspaper, the U.S. admitted that the 36-year-old former Special Forces officer was on a covert mission to collect intelligence on Islamic militant groups.

His release on March 16 came after family members of the victims reportedly received $2.3 million in compensation.

Asked about that by reporters, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said at the time, "The United States did not pay any compensation."  Clinton then said all inquiries should be made to the families and the Pakistani government.

A "blood money" agreement is part of Islamic law in Pakistan.  At Davis' hearing, 19 relatives of the two slain men said they would pardon Davis and that they had received compensation.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Husband Arrested in Fatal Shooting of His Wife in New Jersey

WABC-TV/ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The husband of a young mother who was gunned down in New Jersey while the couple was walking with their young son this week has been charged with her murder, and authorities have also arrested a woman from Boston in the killing.

Kashif Pervaiz, 26, was charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, possession of a weapon and endangering the welfare of a child in connection with the murder of his wife, Nazish Noorani, 27. U.S. marshals in Boston early Friday also arrested Antoinette Stephen, who has been charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and weapons charges, Morris County Prosecutor Robert Bianchi said at a press conference Friday.

Stephen is believed to be the shooter.

The shooting occurred Tuesday night in Boonton, N.J., as the couple, with their 3-year-old in a stroller, walked on a quiet suburban street after a meal with Norrani's family to break the Ramadan fast. The child was unhurt.

Bianchi said Pervaiz,who was wounded when his wife was killed, gave an account of the shooting "that there was a white male, three black males...various conflicting accounts, who had yelled out racial epithets and called them 'terrorists.'"

But he said authorities determined that it was Pervaiz himself who was responsible "for the causing of the murder of his wife."

Bianchi said Pervaiz "allegedly did the unthinkable: plotting the murder of his wife after a religious celebration."

Stephen's name was on the mailbox at Pervaiz's apartment in Boston, according to the New Jersey Star-Ledger.

She is being held on $5 million bail and Pervaiz is being held on $1 million bail, Bianchi said.

Noorani's funeral was to be held Friday at the Jam E-Masjid Islamic Center in Boonton. She and her husband lived in Boston recently, but she attended high school in Boonton, where her family lives.

A family member Thursday told ABC News affiliate WABC-TV that Noorani sent relatives a chilling text message about a month ago showing she feared for her life. It read: "He abuses me. I don't want him to scare the kids. If you should find me dead someday. ... It was Kashi. He wants to kill me."

Family members had earlier expressed doubts about Pervaiz's version of the shooting.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


CIA Ran Fake Vaccine Program to Target Osama Bin Laden

CNN via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The CIA created a fake vaccination program in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in an attempt to gather DNA evidence that would prove Osama bin Laden and his family were hiding there, according to media reports.

The New York Times reported Monday that an American official said the Pakistani doctor who ran the phony program was able to get access to the bin Laden family's high-walled compound, but did not get DNA samples from bin Laden family members and did not see the al Qaeda leader.

A CIA spokesperson declined to comment to ABC News on the alleged vaccination program or reports in The New York Times and the Guardian.

Bin Laden, his son and two other men were killed by Navy SEALs during a raid on the compound in May. Relations between Pakistan and the U.S. were strained by the raid, which was not disclosed to Pakistani officials beforehand. Bin Laden is believed to have lived in the compound, which is less than a mile from Pakistan's leading military academy, for more than five years, adding to U.S. suspicions that Pakistani authorities were protecting bin Laden and other Islamist militants.

In June, CIA Director Leon Panetta confronted the head of Pakistan's intelligence service, the ISI, with evidence that Pakistani officials were tipping off Taliban militants prior to raids, allowing the militants to escape. The U.S. government is now withholding $800 million in military aid that was designated for Pakistan.

The Times also reported that Dr. Shakil Afridi, said to have run the fake vaccination program for the U.S., is being held by Pakistani authorities because he collaborated with the U.S. After the SEAL raid, over a period of several weeks in May and June, Pakistani authorities rounded up a handful of people who helped the CIA find and kill bin Laden, according to Pakistani and U.S. officials. Afridi was detained in late May, according to media reports.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Jury Convicts Chicago Businessman in Plot to Bomb Danish Newspaper

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- A Chicago jury found a local businessman guilty Thursday of providing material support to the banned Pakistan militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, as well as scheming to bomb a Danish newspaper that printed cartoons of the Muslim prophet Mohammad, which is considered sacrilegious in the Muslim world.

However, Tahawwur Rana was acquitted of the most serious charge of helping to plot the 2008 attacks on Mumbai, India that left 166 people dead, including nine of 10 attackers believed to have been recruited by Lashkar-e-Taiba.

During the trial, lawyers for Rana, a 50-year-old born in Pakistan who also has Canadian citizenship, insisted their client was fooled by a friend, David Coleman Headley, into using Rana's company as a cover for his scouting missions in Denmark.

Headley became a witness for the prosecution after admitting guilt to 12 charges related to the Mumbai attacks.  The plot to bomb the newspaper offices of Jyllands-Posten in Copehagen was abandoned because of stepped up security after the Mumbai incident and a lack of funds and manpower.

Rana is expected to receive sentences of up to 15 years on each count but his lawyers have already announced they will appeal the verdicts.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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