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Entries in Lahore (19)

Thursday
Aug182011

Pakistani Cops Release Sketch of Suspect in Kidnapping of American

Pakistan police have released a sketch of a person they believe to be involved in the abduction of Warren Weinstein. Handout(ISLAMABAD) -- Pakistani police Thursday 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.

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 on camera by al Qaeda operatives.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Mar162011

CIA Contractor Freed in Pakistan After Deal Made with Victims' Families

Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images(LAHORE, Pakistan) -- The case of an American CIA contractor who was imprisoned in Pakistan for shooting two men in January has come to a stunning end.

ABC News confirmed Wednesday that Raymond Davis was released after the families of the two victims signed a statement of forgiveness in court.  The families will each receive an estimated $1.2 million for a total of $2.4 million, according to Davis' attorney.

Davis, a former Green Beret, was consulting on security work in Lahore on Jan. 27 when he claims two men tried to rob him. He told Pakistani authorities that he shot the men in self-defense.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Mar072011

Lawyers Hope to Win Release of CIA Operative from Pakistanis

Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images(LAHORE, Pakistan) -- Two U.S. attorneys will defend Raymond Davis, the CIA contractor under arrest in Lahore, Pakistan for the shooting deaths of two men last January.

Last week, a court in Lahore rejected claims that Davis can't be tried because he worked in the U.S. Embassy and was therefore entitled to diplomatic immunity.

Davis has told Pakistani authorities that he shot the men in self-defense, alleging they were trying to rob him.  The Pakistanis are seen as bowing to immense public pressure to put Davis on trial.

The American lawyers, who arrived in Lahore Saturday, are also expected to meet with the families of the two slain men, who are believed to have worked for Pakistan's ultra-secret spy agency.

It's expected that the lawyers will offer to pay compensation to the families, which is traditional under Islamic law.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Mar032011

Pakistani Judge Rules Raymond Davis Doesn't Have Diplomatic Immunity

Photo Courtesy - Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images(LAHORE, Pakistan) -- A legal bombshell in Pakistan, as a judge decided Thursday that American CIA contractor Raymond Davis does not have diplomatic immunity. The judge held off, for now, on charging him for shooting and killing two Pakistani men. Davis claims the gun-toting men were attempting to rob him after he took out money from an ATM.

The Pakistani judge handed down the decision inside the high security prison in Lahore where Davis is being held.  The judge said Davis has failed to prove he has diplomatic immunity and so could be charged with murder as soon as next week.

President Obama has stated Davis does in fact have the immunity afforded to foriegn diplomats and other employees working in embassies and in other capacities in nearly every country in the world, and as such must be freed.

The U.S. can appeal the ruling, but Thursday's decision will continue to inflame the U.S.-Pakistan relationship, which has dropped to the lowest level since 9/11 because of Davis' continued incarceration.

The next court hearing is set for March 8.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb252011

CIA Contractor Appears Defiant Before Pakistani Judge

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(LAHORE, Pakistan) -- Raymond Davis, a CIA contractor accused of killing two men on the streets of Lahore, Pakistan, appeared before a Pakistani judge Friday and refused to sign a list of allegations against him, a lawyer in the court said.

During the hearing, which was held in the jail where Davis is being detained due to security reasons, court officials read aloud the allegations of murder and then presented the charging documents in English to Davis, an attorney for the family of the victims, Asad Manzoor Butt, a U.S. official told ABC News. The handcuffed Davis, however, refused to sign the document and instead presented to the judge a written petition insisting on immunity, Butt said.

Since his arrest last month, the U.S. government has demanded Davis be released on the condition of diplomatic immunity since the State Department said he carried a diplomatic passport as a member of the "administrative and technical staff" of the U.S. embassy in Islamabad. U.S. Consul General in Lahore, Carmela Conroy, was present for Friday's trial, a U.S. official told ABC News, along with members of her staff. But Davis was not afforded an attorney, Butt said.

It's not the first time that Davis, who was recently revealed to be working for the CIA, has resisted cooperation on grounds of diplomatic immunity. In a police interrogation video obtained by ABC News, Davis refuses to answer the officers' questions and attempts to abruptly leave the room.

"I'm not answering any questions. I'm not. No questions. You have my statement. I have diplomatic immunity," a visibly frustrated Davis says. Police then tell him that based on his passport, he does not appear to be a diplomat.

"OK. Do you have it? Can I see it?" Davis says. "Very front page, diplomatic immunity."

When police continue questioning him, Davis tries to leave the room.

"I'm not answering any questions. I'm going back to my room," he says.

U.S. officials have expressed concern over Davis' safety in Lahore's Kot Lakhpat jail, where dogs are reportedly being used to test his food for poison and the guards near his cell have had their guns taken away.

"[Pakistani officials] have told us that he is in the safest possible location in Lahore," State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters Monday. "And clearly, we hold the government of Pakistan fully responsible for his safety."

While Friday's hearing dealt with the criminal charges against Davis, a higher court in Lahore is also determining whether Davis should enjoy diplomatic immunity, a U.S. official told ABC News.

Davis is expected to stay in prison until his next court hearing, scheduled for March 3.

Officials Reveal Davis' Secret Role in Pakistan


In the fullest account yet of how the American official came to be held for the deadly shooting in Pakistan, three current officials told ABC News earlier this week who Davis was working for and what he was doing on Jan. 27 when the incident occurred.

According to a current senior U.S. official and a senior intelligence consultant who worked with Davis, the 36-year-old American is a former Blackwater contractor who was posted to Lahore as part of the CIA's Global Response Staff, or GRS, a unit of security and bodyguards assigned to war zones and troubled countries such as Afghanistan and Pakistan. Members of the GRS most often accompany CIA case officers, who meet with clandestine sources.

Davis and a group of fellow security officers lived in a safehouse in Lahore. The CIA keeps safehouses for security personnel in an effort to limit the ability for militants to track their movements, the intelligence contractor said.

On Jan. 27, Davis left the safehouse and conducted an "area familiarization route," according to the senior U.S. official. He drove through various Lahore neighborhoods for several hours. It was during his route, two U.S. officials say, that Davis stopped at an A.T.M. and possibly drew the attention of two Pakistani men on a motorcycle.

Davis has told the police in Lahore that the two men were attempting to rob him when he fired several rounds from his Glock handgun, hitting them both. The police report says that Davis claimed one of the men had a gun cocked at him. Davis fired multiple rounds from inside his car, killing one man in the street, while the second died later from his injuries.

Davis then called for help from several other CIA security officers who shared his Lahore safehouse, according to a U.S. official and the intelligence consultant. As they arrived near the intersection, they accidentally hit a Pakistani motorcyclist. The motorcyclist later died of his injuries. Davis' colleagues were unable to get to Davis before the police arrested him. They left the scene and returned to their safehouse.

Within hours, they had destroyed all government documents at the safehouse, abandoned it, and retreated to the U.S. consulate for safety. Both have since returned to the U.S., according to a senior U.S. official briefed on the case.

The Pakistani government is under significant public pressure to prosecute Davis. The incident has set off massive anti-American protests and calls for Davis to be executed for the murders.

"Our first fear is that the sentiment of the street in Pakistan is, 'Let's take him and hang him,'" said a current senior U.S. official.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb222011

US Fears for Life of Outed CIA Contractor in Pakistan Prison

Photo Courtesy - Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images(LAHORE, Pakistan) -- U.S. officials believe Raymond A. Davis, the CIA contractor in Pakistani custody for shooting two men, is in serious danger -- even from the guards at the prison where he is now being held.

Davis was working for the CIA as an independent contractor in Lahore when the shooting incident occurred on Jan. 27, according to two senior U.S. intelligence officials. He has been at the center of a tug-of-war between U.S. and Pakistani officials ever since.

The Pakistani government is under significant public pressure to prosecute Davis. The incident has set off massive anti-American protests and calls for Davis to be executed for the murders.

"Our first fear is that the sentiment of the street in Pakistan is, 'Let's take him and hang him,'" said a current senior U.S. official.

According to the official, administration officials fear that the Pakistani government lacks sufficient control over Pakistani municipal police, who have Davis in custody.

A second U.S. official told ABC News that even Pakistani officials are concerned for Davis' safety in the Lahore prison where he now awaits his next court date on Feb. 25. According to the official, the jail holds 4,000 inmates, many of whom are militants, and as many as three prisoners have been "murdered by guards." Davis is currently being held in a separate part of the jail for his safety, and his guards have had their guns taken away. His food is being tasted first by dogs to make sure it isn't poisoned.

According to a current senior U.S. official and a senior intelligence consultant who worked with Davis, the 36-year-old American is a former Blackwater contractor who was posted to Lahore as part of the CIA's Global Response Staff, or GRS, a unit of security and bodyguards assigned to war zones and troubled countries such as Afghanistan and Pakistan. Members of the GRS most often accompany CIA case officers, who meet with clandestine sources.

Davis and a group of fellow security officers lived in a safehouse in Lahore. The CIA keeps safehouses for security personnel in an effort to limit the ability for militants to track their movements, the intelligence contractor said.

ABC News was asked by the U.S. government to withhold publication of Davis's affiliation with the CIA, citing fears that disclosure would jeopardize his safety. After several foreign media organizations published parts of his background, the U.S. government rescinded its request to ABC News to embargo the information.

On Jan. 27, Davis left the safehouse and conducted an "area familiarization route," according to the senior U.S. official. He drove through various Lahore neighborhoods for several hours. It was during his route, two U.S. officials say, that Davis stopped at an A.T.M. and possibly drew the attention of two Pakistani men on a motorcycle.

Davis has told the police in Lahore that the two men were attempting to rob him when he fired several rounds from his Glock handgun, hitting them both. The police report says that Davis claimed one of the men had a gun cocked at him. Davis fired multiple rounds from inside his car, killing one man in the street, while the second died later from his injuries.

Davis then called for help from several other CIA security officers who shared his Lahore safehouse, according to a U.S. official and the intelligence consultant. As they arrived near the intersection, they accidentally hit a Pakistani motorcyclist. The motorcyclist later died of his injuries. Davis' colleagues were unable to get to Davis before the police arrested him. They left the scene and returned to their safehouse.

Within hours, they had destroyed all government documents at the safehouse, abandoned it, and retreated to the U.S. consulate for safety. Both have since returned to the U.S., according to a senior U.S. official briefed on the case.

U.S. officials have been in a standoff with the Pakistani government over Davis's detention since his arrest. Pakistani officials have denied that his diplomatic passport protects him from the country's judicial system. They say the legal system will soon determine if he should stand trial for murder or other crimes, or release him.

The U.S. asserts that Davis has diplomatic immunity and is protected under the Vienna Convention, which recognizes diplomatic immunity.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb212011

U.S. Officials: Man Held in Pakistan Is a Contractor for CIA

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(LAHORE, Pakistan) -- Raymond A. Davis, the American official at the heart of a tense stand-off with the Pakistan government, was working for the CIA as an independent contractor when he shot and killed two Pakistani men, according to two senior U.S. intelligence officials.

In the fullest account yet of how an American official came to be held for the deadly shooting in Pakistan, three current officials have told ABC News who Davis was working for and what he was doing on Jan. 27 when the incident occurred.

According to a current senior U.S. official and a senior intelligence consultant who worked with Davis, the 36-year-old American is a former Blackwater contractor posted to Lahore as part of the CIA's Global Response Staff, or GRS, a unit of security and bodyguards assigned to war zones and troubled countries such as Afghanistan and Pakistan. Members of the GRS most often accompany CIA case officers, who meet with clandestine sources.

Davis and a group of fellow security officers lived in a safehouse in Lahore. The CIA keeps safehouses for security personnel in an effort to limit the ability for militants to track their movements, the intelligence contractor said.

On Jan. 27, Davis left the safehouse and conducted an "area familiarization route," according to the senior U.S. official. He drove through various Lahore neighborhoods for several hours. It was during his route, two U.S. officials say, that Davis stopped at an A.T.M. and possibly drew the attention of two Pakistani men on a motorcycle.

Davis has told police in Lahore that the two men were attempting to rob him when he fired several rounds from his Glock handgun hitting them both. Davis fired multiple rounds from inside his car, killing one man in the street, while the second died later from his injuries.

Davis then called for help from several other CIA security officers who shared his Lahore safehouse, according to the U.S. official and the intelligence consultant. As they arrived near the intersection, they accidentally hit a Pakistani bicyclist, the two officials said. The bicyclist later died of his injuries. Davis' colleagues were unable to get to Davis before the police arrested him. They left the scene and returned to their safehouse.

Within hours, they had destroyed all government documents at the safehouse, abandoned it, and retreated to the US consulate for safety. Both have since returned to the United States, according to a senior U.S. official briefed on the case.

Davis has been held ever since by the local police. Pakistani authorities have said Davis is now in the legal system, which will soon determine if he should stand trial for murder, different crimes, or release him.

The Pakistani government is under significant public pressure to prosecute Davis. The incident has set off massive anti-American protests and calls for Davis to be executed for the murders.

"Our first fear is that the sentiment of the street in Pakistan is, 'Let's take him and hang him,'" said a current senior U.S. official.

According to the official, administration officials fear that the Pakistani government lacks sufficient control over Pakistani municipal police, who have Davis in custody.

U.S. officials have been in a standoff with the Pakistani government over Davis' detention since his arrest. The U.S. asserts that Davis has diplomatic immunity and is protected under the Vienna Convention, which recognizes diplomatic immunity. Pakistani officials have denied that his diplomatic passport protects him from the country's judicial system.

"His continued detention is a gross violation of international law," the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, said in a statement last week. "Under the Vienna Convention and Pakistani domestic law, he is entitled to full criminal immunity and cannot be lawfully arrested or detained."

In recent days the Obama administration has summoned the Pakistani ambassador to the White House to demand Davis' release, while Secretary of State Clinton and the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan have asked senior Pakistani military, intelligence and other government officials to respect Davis' diplomatic immunity.

But the U.S. has refused to elaborate publicly on Davis' position in Pakistan except to say he was a "technical advisor" for the consulate in Lahore and to refer to him as a "diplomat" in public statements.

According to a senior U.S. official, Davis first arrived in Pakistan in December 2008, and was posted at various times in Islamabad, Lahore, and Peshawar. Until last August, Davis was stationed in Pakistan as an employee of the company once known as Blackwater, now called Xe Services, and contracted to the CIA.

According to a former Blackwater executive, the CIA terminated the company's GRS contract in Pakistan, accusing the security company of failing to provide adequate services. The agency then moved to hire all the former Xe/Blackwater security personnel directly as independent contractors.

As a GRS officer, Davis made $780 per day working as a security guard for the agency's clandestine case officers. One official described his job as always being "a few tables away" from a case officer meeting with a clandestine source, and providing security escorts around the country. By 2010, he'd been moved to Peshawar.

In recent years the Pakistani media has asserted that Blackwater was responsible for numerous terrorist attacks in the restive western areas of the country -- attacks attributed by the Pakistani and American governments to the Taliban, al Qaeda and other militant Islamic groups.

According to the intelligence consultant, Blackwater personnel have worked for the CIA in Pakistan since at least 2004, most as security guards, but some as paramilitary operatives working to target militants in the country's tribal regions.

The Pakistani men Davis shot on Jan. 27 were carrying pistols and stolen cell phones, according to the Lahore police. Pakistani government officials have told ABC News that the two were working for that country's intelligence agency, Inter-Service Intelligence, and were also conducting surveillance. American officials deny that the two men worked for the ISI.

"We have no information to suggest Davis was being followed by the ISI," one current U.S. official said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Feb192011

Second American Involved in Lahore Shooting Slips Back to US

Photo Courtesy - Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images(LAHORE, Pakistan) -- A Pakistani court has demanded the arrest of a second U.S. official in connection with a deadly shootout in Lahore, Pakistan, last month, but that official, as well as another American official involved in the incident, have already slipped out of the country and are back on American soil, a senior U.S. official told ABC News.

The American sought for arrest, who the State Department only identified as a member of the U.S. embassy's staff in Islamabad, Pakistan, was behind the wheel when he struck and killed a bystander while racing to the aid of U.S. "technical advisor" Raymond Davis, who is currently detained in Lahore. Davis is accused of gunning down two Pakistani men in the street on Jan. 27 in what the State Department said was self-defense during a "botched robbery."

The driver of the vehicle held the same diplomatic visa as Davis, U.S. officials told ABC News. Since his arrest, the U.S. argued that Davis should be afforded diplomatic immunity as a member of the embassy's "technical and administrative staff" and released.

Authorities in Punjab said they sent five letters to the U.S. Embassy asking that the driver and vehicle be handed over, but have reportedly received no response. It is unclear when the driver and his passenger were spirited out of Pakistan, but a senior U.S. official said it happened soon after the shooting incident.

Davis is still in a high-security detention center in Lahore and is expected to stay there until a court hearing next month, despite repeated demands by the U.S. -- including from President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton -- that he be released immediately. In a court hearing Thursday, a representative of the Pakistani central government said Pakistani officials are still trying to determine whether Davis qualifies for diplomatic immunity. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb172011

Pakistan Court Adjourns Raymond Davis' Immunity Case

Photo Courtesy - Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images(LAHORE, Pakistan) -- The decision on whether Raymond Davis, the U.S. government official accused of killing two Pakistani men in Lahore last month, will receive diplomatic immunity will have to wait another three weeks.

Deputy Attorney General Naveed Inayat Malik, representing Pakistan's government, asked Lahore High Court Chief Justice Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry for the extension Thursday in order to prepare their case on whether Davis qualifies for immunity.  Chaudhry granted the extra time, saying the case is premature until the government can establish Davis' status.

The case is now adjourned until March 14.

At Thursday's hearing, a number of lawyers argued that the name Raymond Allen Davis is an alias and that his passport has been issued under a false name.  They prayed before the court that, therefore, his picture should be placed on record and that Davis should be placed on the Exit Control List, which prohibits him from leaving the country.

The lawyers asked why an espionage case had not been registered against Davis, and also prayed for additional cases to be filed, including a case against Davis for illegally entering Pakistan.

They also argued that former Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who recently met with Sen. John Kerry, should also be summoned to the court.  Qureshi had stated that Davis does not enjoy immunity and is willing to appear before the court in this regard.
 
One of the emotionally charged lawyers argued that Davis has access to alcohol, a cell phone, a television and other things of pleasure, and said these commodities should be stopped immediately and that Davis should be treated like an ordinary prisoner.

Davis is now in a judicial lock up in Lahore.  He has been placed on the Exit Control List, the judge confirmed.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb162011

Sen. John Kerry Meets with Former Pakistani Foreign Minister

Photo Courtesy - Brendan Smialowski/ Getty Images(LAHORE, Pakistan) -- Sen. John Kerry met with former Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi in Lahore Wednesday.

The meeting came at a time when the relationship between the U.S. and Pakistan is strained due to the detention of Raymond Davis, a U.S. government official who's accused of killing two Pakistani men during an alleged robbery attempt late last month in Lahore.

Kerry called Qureshi his friend and had expressed the desire to meet him even if was no longer the country's foreign minister.

Qureshi lost his position after developing differences with the government over immunity issues related to Davis.  He had said that Davis does not enjoy immunity.

Pakistan's foreign office has sent a report to the Law Ministry about the status of Davis' immunity.  The general consensus of the report, according to those who have read it, is that it mentions that Davis is eligible for immunity.  It will be presented in court Thursday and a decision on the basis of the report will be made.

Qureshi is expected to hold a press conference later Wednesday to give details of his meeting with Kerry.

Meanwhile, Kerry is expected to later meet with Nawaz Sharif, the leader of the Pakistan Muslim League, whose party is in opposition to the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party but is in power in Punjab province, where Davis is being held in prison.  Nawaz's brother, Shahbaz Sharif, who is heading the Punjab government, will also be at the meeting.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio