John Solecki kidnapped

John Solecki

John Solecki

I am just shocked to hear that Mr. John Solecki, the head of the Balochistan Mission of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), was kidnapped this morning by unidentified persons from Chaman Housing Society.
Initial reports suggest that unknown persons opened fire on the car of head of UNHCR Balochistan John Solecki as soon as he left the home for office. Syed Hashim, the driver of Solecki has been killed in the incident whereas attackers abducted John Solecki. I have met John a couple of times at the Quetta office of the UNHCR and admire his sense of humor. As far as I remember, it is the first time that a foreigner has been kidnapped in Quetta. I have always proudly told me foreign guests that there is nothing to worry about in Quetta because we have no history of bothering our guests. Kidnapping of foreigners is surely not our way of treating the guests. Balochistan has always been a safe place for all foreigners who came here as visitors, journalists and humanitarian assistants. I would like to assure John, his family and my friends at the UNHCR that THAT IS NOT WE.
I sincerely keep my fingers crossed for John’s safe and immediate recovery from his captors.

I thought John lived with his family in Quetta but later on came to know from a press release issued by the UN Islamabad office saying that John’s family had been notified about his kidnapping. Some readers of the blog have called and asked me to give more details as to which American city/state he comes from. I wish I could provided that my friends back at the UN were cooperative enough. The UN agencies officials trying to avoid giving more information about him due to security reasons.
After all, one in this part of the world lands in more trouble if your captors come to know that you are an American.
The UN press release said:
The United Nations in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan hereby conveys the extreme shock and dismay felt by the whole UN community at the death of Mr. Syed Hashim, driver of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and the abduction of Mr. John Solecki, Head of the UNHCR Office in Quetta.

We strongly condemn this attack on humanitarian workers in Pakistan who have been doing their utmost to deliver their humanitarian mission.

The families of both staff members have been contacted to convey our deepest sympathy to the family of Syed Hashim and to express our concern and solidarity with Mr. Solecki’s family. The United Nations is now taking all possible measures to secure his release.

The latest news is that a First Investigation Report (FIR) has been registered at the Bijli Road Police Station about the murder of the UN driver and the abduction of the UNHCR mission chief in Quetta.

20 Responses to “John Solecki kidnapped”
  1. D.Khan says:

    Lets all pray for his safe recovery coz these beasts know no limits of cruelty and barbarism. May Allah rest Hashim Lala’s soul in peace (amin) he was a kindhearted man and so loyal to his work.

  2. gmcmissing says:

    Amin for Lala hashim and best wishes with John and his family.

  3. V. Bobka says:

    Many prayers for John, who I studied with at college. God be with him.

  4. Martina Turner, sister of Mia, a great friend to John says:

    John is a true ‘citoyen du monde’, fascinated, knowledgeable, respectful of all people. Let John’s captors free him quickly. Sadly they cannot rectify their crime vis-a-vis Hashim Lala.

  5. gmcmissing says:

    I am glad that this blog is helping us all to collectively raise our voice for John’s release. John, we all wish you a very safe release. See we all await your release.

  6. D. Anselm says:

    John is a kind, peaceful and compassionate human being dedicated to helping others. May his kidnappers realize the terrible mistake they have made. My deepest condolences to the family of Hashim Lala.

  7. Rashid Farsakh says:

    To the kidnappers– Please look into your hearts and release John Solecki, he is an example of kindness to all men. Open your hearts to Allah Most Merciful and let John go!

  8. Zeki Hossain says:

    May Allah protect John, he helped my family meny times. We pray for him, he is a good man.

  9. David Anselm says:

    John has spent most of his life helping others. His kidnapping makes no sense. I hope his captors realize their enormous mistake and release him.

  10. D.A.Khan says:

    Hashim Lala was one of the most dedicated staff members of the office who often sacrificed his personal life over his professional one. On the 2nd or 3rd day of his mom’s death he was back on duty.
    ONE day he took me and my colleagu to downtown without telling us it was his brother’s wedding. Once he dropped us at the potter’s workshop he told me the family was calling him and waiting for him… I got angry at him for not telling me that before but he said with a smile “duty to karni hai” “I have to do my duty”.

    What I’m happy about is the lift of tensions from his life just before his death… his dream of a his own house became a reality, his got rid of the court tension, and more then 50% of the debt he had paid, this he told me on Friday…

  11. Lynda Lim says:

    My heart breaks when I came to know abt John’s abduction and Syed Hashim’s untimely death. John has been a great colleague and a wonderful friend; one who always make the greyest day explode in joy. A very dedicated and compassionate co-worker who always go beyond the call of duty to serve humanity. My prayers are with you, John and we hope to see you soon .

  12. D.A.Khan says:

    Since yesterday I had been praying God to give me courage, strength, enough strength not to weep, not to let a single drop of tear plunge my eyes and I successfully managed that until this evening when I was asked to visit Lala’s family…

    No one can envisage the anguish of a grieved family that is going through the toughest time one could ever imagine… I could not dare go closer to Lala’s widow who was crying like anything… I just lost control… I couldn’t dare console her by telling her the bad time would over soon and that everything would be ok…because I knew thing would never be the same…

    her woeful eyes were looking upwards talking to someone no one else but she could see ..”Ya Khuda why me” she would shout “ Ya Khuda what are my children punished for”. “Ya KHUDA who would look after them, ya khuda my kids are orphans” YA KHUDA tell why me???

    But his daughters stood firm. So brave. So courageous. Greeting everyone with an innocent smile but a smile not so cheerful. Watered eyes carrying many questions in them as if asking why has this happened to them?
    Lala’s sister is so proud of her brother’s sacrifice telling everyone with pride that her brother died in the line of duty protecting his boss, “he prefer death over surrender” she told me “your office should be proud of him”
    Lala’s dream house was not yet painted and he told me that once all the loans are paid he’ll paint his house, but he did not know this is not going to happen in his life…

  13. Christopher - USA says:

    I grew up with John in New Jersey and his abduction has made news in the United States. It is our hope that those who have taken him will realize the error of targeting a humanitarian who is in your country to help those innocents who are suffering. He is a wonderful man committed to helping those in need all over the world who has always cared more for others than himself. We pray that he is safe now and will be released soon unharmed as he has been doing only good work for the people of Pakistan and those displaced from Afghanistan. God bless and comfort John, his family and the family of Syed Hashim.

  14. Barbara says:

    I have only positive thoughts, as I know John that you are strong and calm at this moment… perhaps even rustling a smile..

  15. Jean Strickholm says:

    John grew up in Demarest, NJ and was a friend of my son. Our family is heartsick at the news of his kidnapping. We hope that he will be released soon and that he is in good health.

  16. Boutrous K. says:

    John has been so helpful to people across the Arab world. He was great in Egypt, always assisting people, and then he was in Gaza working for the Palestinians trapped there. John has always been understanding and on the side of the victims. He has always worked on the side of Arabs and especially Muslims. John is a very good man and one who should be released.

  17. Karen Strickholm says:

    Here is a nondenominational page for anyone interested to use to help visualize, pray for, meditate, or whatever it is you like to do, to help to energetically support the safe and speedy return of kidnapped UN official John Solecki:

    John, I remember you so fondly from our childhood in New Jersey. You were exceptional even then. When you are freed — and you will be — know that people all over the world have been holding you close in our hearts!

  18. Jengiz Haas says:

    Whoa, seeing this in the paper today saddened me deeply. I can say John is a very cool guy. I spent some teen years as a friend. He’s a very winsome guy. An excellent photographer. I have a framed black and white picture he took of me looking very high on the commons at Northern Valley in my living room. It is really a well composed photo he developed himself.
    If you can know, people, please let him go. We are for human rights! He has helped the sufferers.
    We Can Work It Out.

  19. gmcmissing says:

    It is very regretable that the government has done nothing so far to get John released after the lapse of one and half months.

  20. Toni says:

    I am deeply touched by the outpour of love and concern for John Solecki. I am also thankful that he has been released. Many prayers for this kind man with genuine love for humanity have been answered.

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