Saturday, September 14, 2013

Pakistan: Update--No Clues on Status of Kidnapped Czech Women, Both 24, Abducted on March 30

According to The Oman Tribune, the Czech Foreign Ministry nor the Pakistani government reportedly have any leads concerning the whereabouts of two Czech tourists, both women, who were abducted on March 13, 2013.

Earlier this summer (2013), a two-minute video, which only revealed the two Czech women briefly, to determine that they were still alive and well, Antonie Chrastecka and Hana Humpalova, both 24, yet revealed no information on the identity of the kidnappers or their motive for abducting the two women, although my analysis below may offer an explanation.

The two women, who apparently crossed into Pakistan from Iran on as tourists, were taken at gunpoint on March 13, around 550 kilometers west of Quetta, the main town of Balochistan, which borders Afghanistan and Iran.

No group has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping nor made any demand for ransom.

The abduction occurred some 100 kilometers east of the Iranian border. 

COMMENT: Sadly for kidnap victims, their abductors often purposely wait months or longer to acknowledge a demand or ransom in order for families of the abducted to pressure those governments affected.

The two kidnap victims had planned to go to India via Quetta and Lahore. What they did not realize, though, is that traveling by van through Iran, although cheaper, brought with it considerably more personal risk of abduction.

Kidnappings plague parts of Balochistan and northwestern Pakistan, where criminals look for foreigners and locals of means, both politically and economically, sometimes passing their hostages on to Taliban or al-Qaeda-linked groups. 

According to AFP, the Czech Foreign Ministry examined the video-clip described above, on July 3, to determine its authenticity that turned up on the Internet. The Czech Foreign Ministry has made no public statement as regards the clip's authenticity.

The two-minute video, which depicts the two Czech women, Antonie Chrastecka and Hana Humpalova, identify themselves as having been kidnapped, but revealed no information on the identity of the kidnappers.

The video then pans to apparent images of their passport pages with the purported voice of one of the women as the soundtrack: “Today is April 16, one day after the Boston (Marathon) bomb blast in the USA,” is heard in the background.

“Our health are in good condition but our lives are at risk. Thanks for all who are helping us,” she says in accented and broken English.

The two psychology students were kidnapped while being escorted by a tribal policeman after crossing into Pakistan from Iran. 

According to Reuters, the kidnappers of Chrastecka and Humpalova, have demanded that Aafia Siddiqui, 41, a neuro-scientist who was given an 86-year sentence by a US court in 2010 for shooting at FBI agents and soldiers in Afghanistan be released. 

Dr. Siddiqui emigrated to the US in 1990 and obtained a PhD in 2001 from Brandeis University. 

In early 2003, Siddiqui returned to Pakistan. In March 2003, she was named as a courier and financier for al-Qaeda by Khalid Sheikh Muhammad and was placed on a "wanted for questioning" list by the FBI. She subsequently disappeared until she was arrested in Ghazni, Afghanistan, with documents and notes for making bombs plus containers of sodium cyanide. 

Siddiqui was indicted in New York City District Court in September 2008 on charges of attempted murder and assault stemming from an incident in an interview with US authorities in Ghazni, charges which Siddiqui denied. After 18 months in detention, she was tried and convicted in early 2010 and sentenced to 86 years in prison in a federal detention facility in Texas.