Saturday, May 31, 2014

Pakistan: Chinese Tourist, Age Unknown, Abducted While Traveling in Northwestern Pakistan, All Tourists Urged to "Go Away"

According to The Associated Press, a Chinese tourist traveling through northwestern Pakistan was abducted by unidentified gunmen, Pakistani police said Tuesday (May 27). A militant commander said his Taliban-linked group claimed responsibility for the abduction.

The Chinese national's passport, bicycle and belongings were found on Tuesday in the town of Daraban on the outskirts of Dera Ismail Khan district, said police chief Sadiq Baluch. He said the man had apparently entered Pakistan from neighboring India sometime in April.

The police were not notified of the man's presence in the district bordering Pakistan's lawless tribal region, which is home to local and al-Qaeda-linked militants, Baluch added. 

COMMENT: As I have echoed all too often in the past, not only are all tourists strongly discouraged to avoid all parts of Pakistan, but particularly those traveling on bicycles who have limited capacity of escaping from the Taliban.

The commander of a militant group allied with the Pakistani Taliban, Abdullah Bahar, claimed responsibility for the abduction. In a telephone call to the AP, the kidnap victim had been taken to a "safe place."

Bahar said his Shehryar Mehsud group, which operates under the Pakistani Taliban, would use the Chinese tourist to try to secure the release of their comrades in Pakistani custody.

Kidnapping for ransom is one of several sources for the militants to generate money. Such abductions are sometime also used to pressure the Pakistani government to release militants in custody.

The local Taliban have been waging war against the state in a bid to install their own harsh brand of Islamic Shariah, killing thousands of Pakistanis.

Since he took office last summer, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been pursuing a policy of negotiation with the Taliban to end the decades of militant violence. His government's efforts have so far yielded no results.