Gunmen abduct Pakistan ex-PM Gilani’s son at election rally


May 10, 2013

Source: virginislandsnewsonline.com

BBC World – Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani says his son has been kidnapped by unidentified gunmen during an election rally.

800x_Ali_Haider

Mr Gilani told the BBC his son Ali Haider – a candidate for the Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) – was seized in the central city of Multan. He accused his political opponents of being behind the attack, which came ahead of Saturday’s elections. One person was reportedly killed when the attackers opened fire at the rally. No group has so far claimed responsibility for Thursday’s attack.

Taliban threats 

Eyewitnesses say the gunmen arrived at the gathering in a black Honda car and a motorbike.”A couple of them started shooting,” a teenager at the rally told Pakistan’s Geo TV.

Musa-Gilani-Pakistan

Musa Gilani: “If we don’t get my brother by this evening, I will not let the election happen”

“A man standing in front of Gilani was hit and fell down. Then they grabbed Gilani, put him in the car and sped away.” Reports say the person who died in the shooting could have been Ali Haider Gilani’s bodyguard or secretary. Another five people were injured. Eyewitnesses say a bullet also hit Ali Haider and he was bleeding when the kidnappers put him in the car, Pakistan’s Express Tribune newspaper reports.

Ali Haider – the youngest son of the ex-prime minister – is contesting a seat in the Punjab provincial assembly. “We want our brother back tonight. If we don’t get him, we will not allow elections to be held in our area,” his elder brother Ali Musa – who was in tears – later told reporters.

Police have now sealed off all entry and exit point in Multan, and a massive search operation is under way, local media report.

Yousuf Raza Gilani served as prime minister until June 2012, when he was forced out of office by the Supreme Court over his refusal to pursue a corruption case against President Asif Ali Zardari. But it is still a powerful political family, with Mr Gilani’s sons standing in the elections to the provincial and national assemblies, the BBC’s Mike Wooldridge in Islamabad says.

Sharif’s pledge

The run-up to the 11 May elections has been marred by a series of attacks across the country in which more than 100 people have been killed. The Pakistani Taliban have threatened to prevent the PPP, the Awami National Party (ANP) as well the MQM party, from conducting their election campaigns because they are considered by the militants to be too secular. The military has pledged to deploy tens of thousands of troops to polling stations on Saturday to prevent further attacks.

In a separate development, Nawaz Sharif – the man tipped to be Pakistan’s next prime minister – promised to end the country’s involvement in the US-led war on terror if elected. Mr Sharif – who leads the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) – told the BBC the move was necessary for there to be peace in Pakistan and elsewhere in the world.

Pakistan has been part of the US-led fight against Islamist militancy in the region since the 11 September attacks in the US in 2001. Mr Sharif’s remarks may cause concern among Western leaders, the BBC’s Orla Guerin reports from Islamabad. However, Mr Sharif – who served as prime minister twice in the 1990s – declined to say whether he would stop military operations against the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

Meanwhile, Imran Khan – another leading Pakistani politician – is continuing to recover in hospital after falling off a makeshift lift at an election rally earlier this week. Doctors say that the former cricketer who leads the Tehreek-e-Insaf (Movement for Justice) party – received stitches in the head and treatment for injuries to his spine.

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Is Pakistan considering implementing the Hague Convention on Child Abduction?


May 1, 2013

Source: youblawg

Reports have come out of Pakistan this last week that the country is now seriously contemplating implementing the Hague Convention on Child Abduction.

Pakistani_Child

The reports mark extremely positive news for Child Abduction practitioners, and will receive enthusiastic support from the other countries (of whom there are more than 80) who have ratified the Convention.

At present, Pakistan ranks as one of the countries with the highest abduction rates to and from the UK. As Pakistan has never ratified the international agreement (Hague Convention) the best methods of securing a child’s return following abduction do not apply. There is currently a Protocol in place, which was originally implemented in 2003; however the Protocol has failed to bring about the same results seen in Convention cases. Attempts to secure the return of a Child following a Parental or family abduction therefore tend to be far more hit and miss than in many of the countries that have ratified the Convention.

With cases of child abduction increasing year on year, any move which strengthens international co-operation for the return of abducted children can only be seen as a positive step forward.

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‘My daughter was abducted’


April 13, 2013

Source: The Guardian , Kate Hilpern

Two fathers talk about what happened when their daughters were abducted by their mothers and taken abroad

Gary Mulgrew

Gary Mulgrew, whose daughter was abducted by her mother: ‘What if she’s waiting for me and I haven’t come?’ Photograph: Martin Godwin for the Guardian

Aamina Khan’s bedroom is much like any seven-year-old’s. Her wardrobe is filled with clothes, her school uniform is laid out on her bed and her toys sit in a pile in the corner. The only thing that is missing is Aamina. Her father, Safraz, 44, who was awarded custody of her in 2008, has not seen his daughter since September 2011, when her mother fled the country with her.

“It’s the worst thing ever. Aamina was this happy, bubbly, talkative, active, little girl and our bond was so close. Now I just go home to an empty house day after day, not knowing where she is, or if she’s even safe,” says her father, a senior research scientist, who lives in South Croydon.

The number of children abducted and taken abroad by a parent has risen by 88% in just under a decade, according to new government figures. About 270 new cases were reported in 2003-4, while last year there were more than 500 new reported cases. But perhaps most surprising of all is that 70% of these abductors are mothers.

“This has certainly not always been the case, but it’s definitely changing,” says Joanne Orton, advice line co-ordinator for the charity Reunite. “We often see cases where the mother is a foreign national who has come to England, developed a relationship that then falls apart and she wants to go home to the comfort of her family. As Britain becomes increasingly multi-cultural, we can only see this trend increasing, and it can take months, and even years, of going through the courts for the father to see their child again, and even then, they may never succeed. It’s a major problem.”

Safraz met Aamina’s mother Humma, whose family originates from Pakistan, when they had an arranged marriage in 2004. “After we married, she spent more and more time with her own family, who lived about 10 miles away. When she became pregnant, I was overjoyed. I thought it would be our fresh start.”

But when Aamina was born in July 2005, Humma, who is a doctor, took a job 80 miles away. “Her mother went with her to look after Aamina while she worked, and I was invited to bring Aamina home at weekends. It was hard, but at least I saw her, and I became a very interactive father.”

But soon afterwards, Safraz spotted an email on the family computer, showing that Humma had applied for a job in Bermuda. “I was heartbroken and called the employer to say that I’d seek advice from a solicitor if Humma took our daughter.” The company withdrew the job offer, but Humma was angry and things went downhill. “She increasingly lived at her parents, while Aamina mostly stayed with me.”

In 2008, they separated and Safraz was given residency, while Humma got contact rights. But when, in September 2011, Safraz went to collect Aamina from a two-week stay with her mother, no one answered the door.

“The car wasn’t there and I felt sick. I called on Humma’s uncle nearby and he said they’d gone on holiday. I reported her missing to the police, and they discovered she had been taken to Abu Dhabi, then to Lahore. The penny then dropped about Humma’s recent visits to Pakistan. She had been setting up a new life for her and Aamina.”

Since then, Safraz has written more than 1,000 letters and attended countless court hearings in both England and Pakistan. “I’ve got my MEP on board and I’ve been to some horrible places in Pakistan, handing out photos and writing to schools. But still nothing. The police can’t find Aamina. It’s not that I want Aamina taken away from her mother – just that England is her home. She likes rainbows, her school and swimming lessons and she’ll be confused in a country she doesn’t know and where she must surely believe she can never trust anyone again if the main person in her life suddenly disappears from it.”

lahore canal road bang bang bangggg

The emotional effect of parental abduction on children can be devastating, says Orton. “The child loses trust in the people they should be able to trust the most, and from speaking to parents following a return, it seems that trust is lost not just in the abducting parent, but both parents. That can affect them for life – their self-esteem, their confidence and their expectations of others, causing them all sorts of problems further down the line.”

Unfortunately for fathers such as Safraz, locating children is particularly difficult in countries that are not signatories to the Hague convention, says Orton. “With countries that have signed up – the majority of which are in Europe, as well as Australia, Canada, America and some others – there are procedures in place that can speed things up, although it’s not always smooth even then. But with countries that aren’t signatories, such as Pakistan, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, children can very easily disappear.”

Another major problem facing fathers is that many feel at a disadvantage within the court system.

Gary Mulgrew, 51, whose 11-year-old daughter was abducted six years ago by her mother and taken to Tunisia (also not a signatory to the Hague convention), says: “The courts are an utter nightmare for fathers. They seem to be predisposed to making things more difficult for them.”

Gary was one of the three millionaire British bankers, known as the NatWest Three or the Enron Three, who were accused of fraud against their former employer NatWest. They ended up in a US jail after losing a high-profile extradition case. Until the case started, Gary lived in Brighton with Laura, his wife of 12 years, their son Calum and daughter Cara Katrina. “But then we started appearing in the newspapers a lot. The stress would put most marriages under strain and especially ones like ours, which wasn’t strong.”

Calum, then eight, chose to live with Gary and while Cara Katrina, who was three, officially lived with her mother, she stayed with Gary most of the time.

“Laura had met this Tunisian guy Abdul, whom she married three months after I was extradited, so she spent most of her time with him. But I started to get worried about her taking the children away with him. She was American and hated living in the UK, only ever having done so because of me, so I took out a prohibitive steps order, which was supposed to prevent her taking the children out of the country without my permission, and I agreed to a large divorce settlement if she agreed to stay in the UK.”

tunisia

Then Gary found himself in Houston for four years – curfewed, tagged and eventually imprisoned. “Calum was with my family in the UK. I knew he was safe. But Cara Katrina just disappeared along with Laura. I was in this appalling situation where I was in another country, absolutely helpless and the police in Britain, when I phoned them, just ignored me. The minute you say you’re extradited, they think you’re a criminal and you can hear the change of tone of their voice when you say the abductor is the mother. They think: ‘Oh well, that’s not too bad then.'”

Calum travelled regularly to Houston to see his dad, but Gary felt at a loss when he tried to explain why his mother and sister had vanished. “Laura was always a good mother and even when we divorced she had stated that I was a good father, so it was difficult to understand her rationale. Calum had a few letters from his mother via his school, but there was never a return address.”

Even when Gary’s prison sentence came to an end, he found himself on probation in the UK, unable to travel to look for Cara Katrina. Finally, in April 2010, he got the go-ahead and boarded the first available flight to Tunisia.

“I’ve been back eight or nine times since, trying to find her, but I don’t know where to start and the authorities are useless, here and there. They say that unless I’m prepared to prosecute Laura, they won’t help, but I don’t want that. Who would that help? I’m not even saying that if I found Cara Katrina, I’d bring her home. I have to think about what’s best for her and after six years, I might have to accept that the right thing is for her to stay there. But, as it is, I don’t know if she’s safe, if she’s happy, if she’s educated. I don’t even know if she’s with her mother.”

Calum is now 17. “You can imagine what this has done to him. But we make the most of what we’ve got and have a strong relationship. We don’t talk about it much, but I always buy an extra ticket at the cinema and I encourage people to keep buying Cara Katrina birthday and Christmas presents, which I keep for her, so she knows we’re not giving up on her.”

Last year, Gary got some professional counselling. “Someone said I needed to treat it as a bereavement – not of Cara Katrina, but of the five-year-old Cara Katrina. But the thing about your children is that your love for them is intense, so this doesn’t ever get any easier. In my positive moments, I dream of her being treated well and that Abdul has this big family where she laughs and sings and goes dancing. But the nightmare moments are where I let myself think none of those things might be true and that she’s just waiting for me and I haven’t come.”

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Pakistan – American development expert abducted in Pakistan


Sounce: CNN

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) — Gunmen abducted an American development expert early Saturday, pistol-whipping him and his driver, and tying up his guards after getting past security by posing as neighbors offering food, U.S. Embassy and Pakistani officials told CNN.

The U.S. embassy identified the man as Warren Weinstein, and a Pakistani official said he works for a U.S. consulting firm based in Arlington, Virginia. He’s is a world-renowned development expert, with 25 years of experience, according to his company’s website.

As Weinstein’s security guards prepared for the meal before the Ramadan fast early Saturday, three men knocked at the front gate and offered food for the meal — a traditional practice among Muslims during the Ramadan holy month, according to senior Lahore police official Tajamal Hussain.

Once the gate was opened, the three men forced their way in, while five other suspects entered the house from the back, Hussain said. The men tied up the three security guards and duct-taped their mouths, he said. They pistol-whipped the driver and forced him to take them to Weinstein’s room where the men hit Weinstein in the head with a pistol, and forced him out of the house and into a waiting car, Hussain said. He said Weinstein is in his 60s.

There has been no claim of responsibility nor any demands by any groups so far, according to senior police official Awais Ahmed.

Weinstein has lived in the residence in an upscale Lahore neighborhood for several years, Ahmed said. He works for JE Austin Associates Inc., according to Lahore police chief Nayab Haider.

According to the company’s website, the consulting firm is based in Arlington, Virginia. The site says he was heading what the company described as the “Pakistan Initiative for Strategic Development and Competitiveness.”

It also says Weinstein is a Fulbright Scholar in Belgium and is proficient in six languages, with a doctorate in international law and economics.

U.S. Embassy officials are working with Pakistani authorities on the case, embassy spokesman Alberto Rodriguez said

The U.S. State Department this week updated a travel advisory for Americans traveling and working in Pakistan, warning that extremist groups operating in the country were continuing to target U.S. and other Western citizens and interests.

It cited part of the reason for the advisory as “reported” abductions of U.S. citizens “for ransom or personal reasons,” including the kidnapping of a U.S. citizen in Lahore in June. No further details about that incident were released.

Abductions are not unusual in Pakistan, though those targeted are typically Pakistani rather than American or Western.

In early July, a Swiss couple was grabbed at gunpoint while traveling in the town of Loralai in the volatile southwestern Balochistan province, provincial officials said at the time.

Three weeks after their abduction, Pakistani authorities said they believed the couple was still alive.

Weinstein’s abduction follows another high-profile incident involving an American in Lahore.

Raymond Davis, a CIA contractor, was charged with killing two men in January, but was released in March after compensation was paid to their families.

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They killed Osama Bin Laden


Today U.S Navy Seal Team six killed Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden

By: Robert W. Johnson The military team that killed Osama Bin Laden is an elite special forces group unofficially called Seal Team 6. Officially, the team’s name is classified and not available to the public, technically there is no team 6. A Tier-One counter-terrorism force similar to the Army’s elusive Delta group, Team 6’s mission rarely make it to paper much less the newspaper. It shows how important the publicity about Bin Laden’s killing is to the U.S. that this morning, Team 6 is front pages news. The members of Team 6 are all “black” operatives. They exist outside military protocol, engage in operations that are at the highest level of classification and often outside the boundaries of international law. To maintain plausible deniability in case they are caught, records of black operations are rarely, if ever, kept. The development of SEAL Team 6 was in direct response to the 1980 attempt to rescue the American hostages held in Iran. The mission was a terrific failure that fell apart at many points and illustrated the need for a dedicated counter-terrorist team capable of operating with the utmost secrecy. The Team was labeled 6 at the time to confuse Soviet intelligence about the number of SEAL teams in operation at the time. There were only two others. Team 6 poached the top operatives from other SEAL units and trained them even more intensely from there. Even among proven SEAL’s the attrition rate for Team 6 is reported to be nearly half. There are no names available for current Team 6 members, but the CIA does recruit heavily from their numbers for their Special Operations Group, so it makes sense that they were chosen to work with the CIA on this mission. Team 6 is normally devoted to missions with maritime authority: ship rescues, oil rigs, naval bases or land bases accessible by water. There are no waterways near Bin Laden’s compound. When a former Navy SEAL was called for a comment about this article all he could say was: “You know I’d love to help you man, but I can’t say a word about Team 6. There is no Team 6.” Click here to see photos of people celebrating Bin Laden’s death > Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-team-that-killed-bin-laden-seal-team-6-2011-5#ixzz1LEfGRIA5 Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Services Follow our updates on Twitter and Facebook

Abductions: The UK-Pakistan Judicial Protocol


By: FCO Child Abduction Section

If your child has been taken to Pakistan the UK-Pakistan Judicial Protocol may apply.

In January 2003, senior judges from the UK and Pakistan signed the UK-Pakistan Judicial Protocol on Children Matters.

This is an understanding between the judges of each country that the courts of a child’s home country are best placed to determine the welfare of that child.
When a child is wrongfully removed from or retained in the UK or Pakistan, the principle is that a child should be returned to his or her home country so that the courts can hear the case.

A system of liaison judges in the UK and Pakistan facilitate the working or this protocol.  The liaison judges ensure that the courts in each other’s country are aware of any pre-existing court orders from the child’s home country.

See the ‘Useful documents’ link to the right for:

  • the text of the UK-Pakistan Judicial Protocol on Children Matters (January 2003, London)
  • the Supplemental Judicial Guidelines on the UK-Pakistan Protocol (September 2003, Islamabad)
  • the agreed points from the Panel Session Meeting with the UK-Pakistan Judiciary (February 2006, London)

If you choose to pursue the return of your child to the UK under the UK-Pakistan Protocol, you’ll need to commence legal proceedings first in the UK courts and then in the Pakistani courts.  Your first step should be to consult a lawyer in the UK.

We have produced a short leaflet on the protocol available in English and Urdu.

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Service

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