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Wife of kidnapped US aid worker Weinstein urges return


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A private security guard closes the gate to the residence of kidnapped US aid worker Warren Weinstein in Lahore on December 2, 2011. — Photo by AFP/File

WASHINGTON: The wife of a US aid worker abducted in Pakistan is pleading for his safe return on the one-year anniversary of his kidnapping, saying her husband is in poor health and is missed by grandchildren who ask for him every day.

Warren Weinstein, a 71-year-old aid worker from Rockville, Maryland, was kidnapped last August after gunmen tricked his guards and broke into his home in Lahore.

Al Qaeda released a video in May in which Weinstein said he would be killed unless President Barack Obama agreed to the group's demands. It was not clear when the video was recorded.

The White House has called for Weinstein's immediate release but has said it won't negotiate with Al Qaeda.

His wife, Elaine, observed the anniversary of his disappearance Monday with a statement urging his release. She said he suffers from a heart condition, severe asthma and high blood pressure and fears that his health ''will deteriorate if he is not allowed to see the doctors and specialists that have helped keep him alive in recent years.''

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,'' the statement says.

''It is impossible to describe the pain and sadness my daughters and I feel. We are simply heart sick. I always imagined growing old with Warren and enjoying our family together.''

Weinstein was the country director in Pakistan for J.E. Austin Associates, a US-based development contractor that advises different Pakistani business and government sectors.

The company has said Weinstein worked with a wide range of Pakistani government agencies, and that his work helped create hundreds of well-paying jobs and raise the standard of living in communities where the businesses are located.

He had told his staff he expected to wrap up his latest project and move out of Pakistan within days.

''Warren loves Pakistan and lived there for eight years so he could dedicate his time and energy to working with the people. I don't understand why he was taken,'' Elaine Weinstein said in her statement.

In the video released in May by Al Qaeda's media arm and posted on militant websites, Weinstein sits in front of a white background, near books and what appears to be a plate of food, and makes a direct appeal to the president.

''My life is in your hands, Mr. President,'' Weinstein says. ''If you accept the demands, I live; if you don't accept the demands, then I die.''

The video came several months after one release in December by Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, who said Weinstein would be released if the US stopped airstrikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. He also demanded the release of all Al Qaeda and Taliban suspects around the world.

The FBI has been investigating the kidnapping, but Jacqueline Maguire, a spokeswoman for the FBI's Washington field office, said the bureau cannot discuss ongoing investigations.

Comments (19) Closed

nomi Aug 13, 2012 10:12am
Al-Qaeda has given Islam a very bad name. Today non-muslims associate islam with terrorism. This is not the teaching of the Qur'an and I believe these animals will burn in the hell forever and ever.
deepak Aug 13, 2012 01:31pm
he asked for it
@tangoscott Aug 13, 2012 11:37am
Yes this older Jewish man was kind enough to help Pakistan. He should be released with an apology.
Javed Butt Aug 13, 2012 01:42pm
Show Ramadan spririt & let him join his faimly . Islam will gain.
KRACHID Aug 13, 2012 02:03pm
A true moslem would not kidnap an innocent person; as a human being please let hom go and join his family. A true leader acts with generosity and compassion. He was a guest in Pakistan; honor the guest as the Holy Prophet would have done.
Cyrus Howell Aug 13, 2012 02:07pm
Why would anyone named Weinstein be living in Pakistan? He had told his staff he expected to wrap up his latest project and move out of Pakistan within days. They got him just in time. He can advice Al Qaeda on starting businesses other than kidnapping. Elaine Weinstein: " I told Warren he should have retired at age 65."
Usman Aug 13, 2012 03:34pm
Oh how I refrain from indulging in these comments, but Deepak, your remark quite frankly disgusts me
Ixion Aug 13, 2012 03:41pm
Do the right thing .. let Mr. Weinstein go free. You are inviting wrath of God by targeting innocent people and are not gaining any sympathy from your own folks either.
bamboo Aug 13, 2012 04:02pm
islam donot teach violence it is against the teachings of holy prophet. So for the dignity of islam & muslim this person should be let free.
Rev. Eldrick Lal Aug 13, 2012 04:06pm
I am tired of people who abuduct or kidnap innocent folks for ransom. Please leave the poor chap and let him go free to his homeland. Let's honor his services and time in Pakistan. His has not done anything wrong and please don't misconstruce me for being his advocate. It's just a matter of humanity.
Amn Aug 13, 2012 04:45pm
Taliban do not represent Islam or muslims. they are tools for those who needed a reason to invade other countries. It is sad that innocents are paying the cost of the ploy designed by handful people with devilish aims.
Umair Aug 13, 2012 04:50pm
This is tragic for us as a nation and as a society. We have stooped so low that we are hurting people that actually want to help us.
anony Aug 13, 2012 04:51pm
I do sincerely hope that this man is released unharmed. His wife should however, also realize that innocents killed by the US government in this war are also somebody's grand father, husband or brother. Maybe she does not support this war, but maybe she does. This has become a selfish world and every person is thinking about themselves only.
Raza Khan Aug 13, 2012 04:55pm
What kind of message are we giving to the world! Please release him for the sake of humanity.
naeem Syed j Aug 13, 2012 06:17pm
He asked for what? He knew the risks but still he came to help. Whoever has him please let him go back to his family, that is the true spirit of Islam
Asad H Aug 13, 2012 09:11pm
THis is truly sad! People like Mr. Wienstein are model global citizens as they try to help the common folk in underdeveloped countries at the peril of their own lives - whoever targets them has no conscience or soul.
Baba Sidni Aug 13, 2012 11:18pm
He asked for it. He knew the risks and if wanted to help those people in crisis, he could have done so many other things, keeping his old job in his own country, but I guess, in this age of economic slowdown, either he did not have a job, or a comparatively low paying job. He took the risk for more money, and got what he bargained for.
Aslam Aug 14, 2012 12:19am
Shame on the entire country and especially the Alim hazrat or so called Alim, where are they? Why do they not speak up against this inhumanity, where is Imran Khan and why does he not say anything, we already know Zardari is useless but what Al Qaeda is doing is absolutely haram and kufar, how is this allowed in Islam to kidnap an innocent man who only came to help poor Pakistani people. Shame on our country for its silence, shame on the media, shame on our leaders, shame on our religious muftis and alims, where is the anger, where is the outrage. See how it feels when Somalis kidnap our people, this is how those people are feeling and Pakistan is getting a terrible reputation. I pray Allah destroys Al Qaeda and its helpers, they deserve nothing less than hell fire, and that is their gain on this earth.
patrick Aug 14, 2012 07:31am
well it comes down to that 90% of people are products of the Divine and the rest a packfull of demons;note that I do not say animals which in fact are part of the 90% and often an exemple for mankind to profit a very good site full of beautiful and decent human beings hope one day they will prevail before the planet plunges in the fire of hell