Concern mounts over U.S. aid worker kidnapped in Pakistan

March 19, 2009

Concern is mounting over the health of John Solecki, an American working for the UNHCR, who was kidnapped from the Pakistani city of Quetta 45 days ago.

The UN said it was worried about an apparent deterioration in his health after a little known Baluch group, which says it is holding him, called a local news agency saying he was seriously ill with a heart condition.

Three deadlines set by a group calling itself the Baluchistan Liberation United Front have passed and a new one was meant to end on Thursday. The group wants the release of 1,000 Baluch prisoners, including women, said to be held in Pakistan government cells.

With little sign of any resolution Pakistani media are questioning the seriousness of the effort to secure Solecki’s release. Neither the Baluch government nor the government in Islamabad had taken the task seriously, the liberal Daily Times said. “No matter who kidnapped Solecki, observers say the government cannot absolve itself of the primary responsibility of protecting all those in Pakistan’s territory,” it said.

And the News wrote of the “casual cruelty” involved in picking up an unarmed aid worker on his way to work. It said there were credible reports that extremist groups had a a sort of “rate card” of potential victims. grading them by their public profile and relative value. And since the number of foreigners on Pakistani soil is dwindling fast, the value of those who remain such as Solecki is high. 

“Cheap targets are no longer of interest. As fewer and fewer foreigners choose to work here their market value is increased by their scarcity and they have become a high-value commodity to be traded for the best price,” it said. So the group holding him has been making demands that would be difficult for any government to accept, including a resolution of the issue of Baluch independence.

The stretched-out abduction drama is being played against the backdrop of increasing U.S. attention on Baluchistan, which is where it believes the founder of the Afghan Taliban Mullah Muhammad Omar is based, directing the insurgency in southern Afghanistan. 

 As highlighted in a previous post, the New York Times reported the Obama administration was considering expanding its covert war in Pakistan to strike at Quetta, the provincial capital of Baluchistan where it believes Mullah Omar runs his shura. Up until now, the United States has focused its unmanned Predator drone campaign on Pakistan’s tribal areas in the northwest, carrying out missile strikes on suspected al Qaeda and Taliban figures and their hideouts.

One U.S. official played down the idea of widening the strikes to Baluchistan, saying it was not being “put forward seriously”, according to this Reuters story. ”You can’t use the same tactics in a settled, populous area … where the government has a great deal of penetration and control as you would in a sparsely populated area where the government has limited presence,” this official said.

Pakistan  which is already chafing at U.S. missile strikes in the northwest has rejected  claims that Baluchistan was a safe haven for the Taliban.  The Islamists did not have political and tribal support in the province, an inspector general of the Frontier Corps said.

[Photo of a protest in Quetta against the killing of a Shi'ite leader] 




Amir ali,

What do you call a country whose 90000+ soldiers surrender without a fight?

What do you call a country whose soldiers repeatedly surrender without a fight to taliban?

What do you call a country whose law enforcement officers refuse to serve in SWAT because of fear of rag tag taliban?

What do you call a country whose cops work hand in glove to attack thier honoured guestes (sri lankans)?

Posted by indian1127 | Report as abusive

Pakistani’s have a very funny and flawed logic. If India wants to respond to Mumbai, India is seen as the aggresor, if India chooses to have a mature response and not attack, the Paki’s call India ‘weak’.

It appears Paki’s want to have always keep the option of fueling proxy wars and the option of carrying out provoking acts against India and not have to pay any consequence for its treachery and still have the option of playing victim, if India decides to choose to defend herself.

Why are Paki’s so mentally sick and feeled entitled to act like Animals?

When will the U.S. and the world realize that Pakistan is playing the world, even the Arab News Papers are saying that Pakistan has outwitted the U.S., the World and India. That same outwitting is what the WEST calls playing games and dirty tactics, it is not outwitting anybody. It will bring about the destruction and disintegration of Pakistan.

When will the Americans wake up and realize that it is not just the Taliban who need to be droned, but it is also the very control and command structure of Pakistan, which itself has created the terrorism and nurtures them as “strategic assets”, in the words of PK. Gen. Asfaq Kayani himself?

The U.S., UN, NATO and Security Council need to seriously consider an active program to dismantle Pakistan as it has now become a rogue terrorist state, with Nuclear Weapons. Serious action must be taken by the U.S. to denuclearize Pakistan, do a regime change, or dismantle, or all of the above. Pakistan is becoming unsafe and a threat to the world.

Posted by Global Watcher | Report as abusive

Aamir Ali,
We put 1 million soldiers at the border out of spontaneous rage at the Pakistani terrorists and their mentors, who attacked the Parliament.

But soon we realized, there is no point entering the swamp-lane. We don’t like to live in a swampville. There is no way out of a swampville. The job can be better done by drones and others.

We don’t like kicking a dead horse.

I am glad there are some sane half-smart leaders in India.

Posted by Your Neighbor | Report as abusive

Rajeev wrote:
“Umair, with all due respect, fu$k you for this statement. Remember if you spit filth against India, I am not going to sit back and watch this crap. ”

By all means, Rajeev I was replying to Mauryan. What am I suppose to do as a Pakistani when Mauryan(Indian) is spitting filth against Pakistan? Do I sit back and relax? no, I should talkback just like you did.
And I will not call f$ck you because two wrongs dosnt make a right. However if Mauryan keeps barking about Pakistan I will f$ck him till he screams Pakistan Zindabad!

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

India makes world’s cheapest car and Pakistan makes world’s cheapest terrorist

Posted by anju2008 | Report as abusive


Its not Pakistan Zindabad, but Pakistan Zinda Bhaag!!

Pakistan seems to do a lot more surviving than living.

Posted by bulletfish | Report as abusive

@By all means, Rajeev I was replying to Mauryan.

-Posted by Mauryan

Umair: It hardly matters to me whom you are talking to when it comes down to this and this is blog–not any personal messaging. Any way, you can go ahead and play this game with anyone you like.

Back to some useful discussion you raised a point and replied, but did not hear. Here you go again:

You said:
(Indian) Navy vessels were busy attacking Somali pirates, while terrorists sneaked into Mumbai through internationl waters.
-posted by Umair

I replied:
Agreed. Poor security on Indian part–but that it is due to Indian Navy busy somewhere else is childish. Offense and defense teams are separate in a game-same here–coast guard did dismal job–although they got close but did not pay attention.
But, did you ever think that this also tells about Pakistan security since 10 terrorists escaped from Karachi port into Pakistan waters crossing further towards India. Alternatively, Pakistan security was collaborating with the terrirists. which one would you pick?

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

@By all means, Rajeev I was replying to Mauryan.

-Typo. This one was posted by Umair.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

@What do you call a country that posts a million soldiers, then issues threats, then withdraws those soldiers ?
You call it a cowardly India.
- Posted by Aamir Ali


Since when protecting one’s own country with Army is not called BRAVE, but coward.

The reason for the army is Pakistan. You absolute shut that stop-release valve of terrorists, Army will be most happy to deal with its other businesses. Same thing happened in Punjab–Army was out and then was withdrawn.

You are plainly pathetic since you are an aggressor (send terrrorists in India) and beg India to withdraw Army.

Surrender of Pakistani Army to Taliban, Killing millions by Pakistani in E.Pakistan, killing thousand armless Khudai Khitmadgars Pashtuns by Pakistani army, torturing nob-violent Frontier Gandhi much worse than British in prions, are just few examples of how a coward would behave.

These Baloch separatist groups are based in Afghanistan and US does nothing against them. Now they are unhappy that an American has been kidnapped by these groups. US should crackdown on these groups in Afghanistan.
–Baluchistan is full of natural resources and Baluchis living as 3rd class citizens in their own country. Haven’t you done enough atrocities on Baluchis already that you need extra hand now. US should rather crackdown on ISI who stages these acts.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive


There was no insurgency in Kashmir before 1989, yet the Indian Army has been there since 1948, when it invaded Kashmir. As long as the Indian Army remains in Kashmir, there will be a freedom struggle.

Similarly the Indians wrongly blamed Pakistan for 2001 parliament attack and deployed a million soldiers,which they withdrew after Pakistan missile attacks scared Indians.

So it is correct to call India a cowardly country which is obsessed with a small nation like Pakistan.


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