Saturday, March 16, 2013

Pakistan: Update--More Details on Two Czech Women Kidnapped in Balochistan

According to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the employer of Hana Humpalova, 24, one of the two Czech women kidnapped by a large group of gunmen just inside Pakistan from the Iranian border has made a tearful plea for her release. 

Humpalova was kidnapped along with her friend, Antonie Chrastecka, on March 13 as they were traveling by bus in Pakistan's southwestern province of Balochistan, which is not a good place for any "tourist" to be. 

Lenka Ficova, head of the Czech charity, We Are Open, where Humpalova worked with mentally disabled adults, said she was praying tor Humpalova's release and appealed to the kidnappers "as Muslims" to return her unharmed.  

COMMENT: Unfortunately, verbal pleas from the family and friends of kidnap victims to Islamist kidnappers is almost never productive, although it does give the friends and family of kidnap victims the sense that they are being helpful. Actually, though, the opposite effect very often occurs. 

Ficova said Humpalova had left the Czech Republic on March 1, for a month-long trip to Iran, Pakistan, and India. 

Manoo Khan, the driver of the bus from which the two women were abducted described  the kidnapping to RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal: 

"We started to travel from the [Iranian] border at around 1530 hours and reached the abduction point around 1725 hours when a large group of gunmen waved them down with  assault rifles...I thought they were security men who were checking the bus. Then two of them came inside the bus and took the AK-47 away from the guard and had the guard and the two Czech women disembark the bus." 

Khan said the kidnappers, who spoke to the women in English, took them in the direction of the border with Iran. 

Although the Czech Foreign Ministry has said it is working with Pakistani authorities to secure the women's release, the reality is that most abductions in Pakistan are "long-term," meaning several months and upwards of a year, given how slow communication works in isolated areas. 

The length of abductions in Pakistan is exactly the reason I so strongly discourage foreigners from traveling to Iran and Pakistan as "tourists," with no organizational security support mechanism.