WASHINGTON – An American development expert kidnapped in Pakistan is intelligent, generous and devoted to his work, a friend and business associate said Wednesday.
Warren Weinstein was abducted by gunmen early Saturday from his home in that country's eastern city of Lahore. Pakistani authorities have been unable to determine whether the kidnappers were criminals or Islamic militants, and FBI agents are investigating alongside Pakistani officials.
Weinstein, 70, was the country director for Pakistan for J.E. Austin Associates, based in Arlington, Va. The company said in a statement that his efforts created hundreds of jobs and raised the standard of living in Pakistani communities.
J.A. Austin focuses on strategy and management consulting for developing economies. Weinstein worked in Pakistan for several years on a variety of economic development initiatives funded both by the government and by private and corporate donors, the company said.
Mike Redwood, a leather industry consultant from Somerset, England, said Wednesday that he had befriended Weinstein while they worked together on "a strategic plan for the Pakistani leather industry."
"This is a very, very committed and special person," Redwood told The Associated Press, adding he last spoke to Weinstein a few months ago.
Weinstein is married with two adult daughters and has a home in Rockville, Md. His wife and other relatives have not returned telephone messages, and no one answered the door at the Rockville home when an AP reporter visited on Saturday.
J.E. Austin said Weinstein is in poor health and provided a detailed list of medications, many of them for heart problems that it implored the kidnappers to provide the development expert.
Redwood said Weinstein's health seemed to be fine and that he exercised regularly while Redwood was staying in a guest room at the house in Lahore.
"He's incredibly intelligent, he's incredibly resourceful and quick-witted, and if his health is OK, he's the one person that I could imagine would be able to handle something like this," Redwood said.
He also said Weinstein was concerned about security but did not allow those worries to affect his work.
"He took care but he was never going to hide," Redwood wrote in an email.
Weinstein had a vast network of contacts in Pakistani government ministries and the private sector, Redwood said.
"He bubbles with energy, nothing slows him," Redwood wrote. "You see a man who loves the Pakistani nation and is committed to this work to help them."