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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Times Square Bomber from "Respected Family"

PESHAWAR: The dramatic arrest of Faisal Shahzad in connection with the Times Square bomb plot has shocked people who know the family here.

Villagers of Mohib Banda in Pabbi, Nowshera, said that members of Shahzad’s family believed he had been implicated in a false case. “They are a well-respected family. They are apolitical,” a family friend said.

“I know Shahzad’s family very well. They are highly respected in the entire village and adjoining areas,” said Advocate Kifayatullah Khan, a former member of the provincial bar council.

He said the family believed that Shahzad had been framed. “The entire family is highly educated and enlightened. The villagers don’t believe that Shahzad could act in such a manner,” he said.

Dawn tried to contact family members for comments, but calls made to their residence in Hayatabad were not answered.

Advocate Kifayatullah said that although the family had agricultural land and property in the village, they did not live there. He said that Mr Haq had been looking after the land since his retirement.

Shahzad married a woman from Mardan. His mother is from Charsadda and elder brother is an engineer currently living in Canada.

Officials said that Shahzad had been using three passports -- two of them Pakistani -- since 2003. He left for the US via Dubai by an Emirate Airlines flight from Benazir International Airport in Islamabad in the first week of February.

Villagers told Dawn that Shahzad had attended a wedding ceremony in the village during his last visit early this year.

Investigators are trying to find out how an engineer settled in the US got in touch with militants, what prompted him to botch the bombing plot and who inspired him.

From here.

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