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Two arrested in Pak over US NGO worker's abduction

April 05, 2012 12:15 IST

Pakistani law enforcement agencies have arrested two members of the Taliban on charges of involvement in the kidnapping of American Non-Governmental-Organisation worker Warren Weinstein from the city in August last year.

A Crime Investigation Agency team arrested Saifur Rehman and Hafiz Imran from Thokar Niaz Baig in Lahore. A Punjab Police spokesman said Imran led the group that

kidnapped Weinstein from his home in Model Town area while Rehman provided shelter to the abductors.

Both the arrested men are members of the Punjabi Taliban, which has links to the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan. "It's a significant development in the case and we hope that Weinstein will be recovered safely," the spokesman said.

Weinstein was the country head for United States-based consulting firm J E Austin Associates, which works for economic growth and private sector development and was associated with United States Agency for International Development projects in Pakistan.

He is believed to be in the lawless tribal belt bordering Afghanistan.

A Taliban faction has reportedly demanded a huge amount of money for Weinstein's release. The Punjab police are also reportedly in negotiations with the kidnappers of Shahbaz Taseer, the son of slain Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer.

Taseer, who too was kidnapped in August last year, is also being held in the tribal areas.

"We are in contact with Shahbaz's kidnappers. They have demanded a huge ransom," a family friend of the Taseers told PTI.

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