`Extortion gangs kidnapped Taseer’s son, American`

Pakistani law enforcement agencies fear the abductors have sold their `prized-catches` to bigger extortion gangs.

Islamabad: Abductors of the son of slain Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer and American aid worker Warren Weinstein are not militants, but organised extortion gangs who might have sold them to bigger bidders, Pakistani law enforcement agencies fear.

The agencies say that the abductors have sold their `prized-catches` to bigger extortion gangs for higher ransom and this has brought investigations to an almost dead end, the Express Tribune reported.

Investigators now say the two cases are not linked and two separate gangs are involved in the abductions.

However, no link has been established with banned militant groups in either case, the paper said quoting sources.

They said they had informed the families that going after the abductors could endanger the victims and the only option possibly left for the families of the abducted men is to negotiate a ransom, which is yet to be communicated by the abductors.

The paper said that the agencies had managed to trace Shahbaz Taseer as well as the kidnapped American only to discover that the original abductors had "sold" their victims to another set of persons for a higher ransom.

The "new kidnappers" have been identified as organised criminals with a strong background of such abductions, the report said.

The victims, however, have been moved to a location where Pakistani law enforcers and security agencies cannot act to recover them, the daily quoted its sources as saying. It may be weeks before any contact is established since the kidnappers know that they are out of the reach of security agencies, a senior official told the daily.

The lack of contact by the abductors was corroborated by a joint investigation report sent to the Interior Ministry.

The report had analysed the mobile phone call data records of members of the Taseer family.


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