John Solecki kidnapped
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.