Pak major among 2 held in NY plot

Pak major among 2 held in NY plot

Pak major among 2 held in NY plot

The army officer was arrested in Rawalpindi, the garrison city that serves as the headquarters of the Pakistani army, the American intelligence official said. He appeared to have been disaffected, and his involvement with Faisal Shahzad, the Pakistani-American charged with the failed bombing in New York, did not signal the involvement of the Pakistani army in the attack, the official said. The arrest of the officer, who holds the rank of major and whose name was not disclosed, and of Salman Ashraf Khan, 35, an executive of a catering company that organised functions for the American Embassy here, suggested the participation of a group of Pakistanis in helping Shahzad after he returned to Pakistan from the US last year to plan the bombing, the officials said.

A senior Pakistani official said on Friday that Khan and the army major were among several Pakistanis being questioned in connection with the Times Square case. Investigators were still sorting out exactly what role, if any, each individual played in helping Shahzad develop and plan the attack, the official said.

The arrest of the army major, which was first reported by The Los Angeles Times, raised questions of whether the Pakistani army harboured some officers and soldiers sympathetic to the cause of the Pakistani Taliban, the militant group that Shahzad has said trained him for his bombing attempt.

Like Shahzad, the catering executive, Khan, attended college in the US. He appears to have been part of a loose network of middle-class, educated Pakistani men in Islamabad, who assisted Shahzad in planning the attack.

Khan’s arrest became public on Friday, after the US Embassy warned American residents in Pakistan to avoid using his company, Hanif Rajput Caterers, because “terrorist groups may have established links” to it.

Khan disappeared on May 10, when he failed to arrive at the company headquarters after leaving his house in his car, his father, who is the company’s chief executive, said in an interview in Islamabad.

Khan graduated from the University of Houston in 2000, having majored in computer science, and then returned to Pakistan to work in the family’s catering business, his father said. Since graduating, he had not returned to the US and he was married three years ago, his father said.

Rana Ashraf Khan described his son as religious, but “definitely not an extremist.” Asked if his son had negative feelings toward the US, he said: “To be honest, yes. But that is common.”
The New York Times