Why was the Pakistani hostage released?

Good news, but some questions

The good news is that Iraqi insurgents released their Pakistani hostage. The question is why?


(a) Because he was a Muslim
(b) Because Pakistan had not sent any troops to Iraq
(c) Because the insurgents feared Pakistan’s ‘no negotiations’ policy
(d) Because he promised not to work for American forces
(e) All the above

The insurgents have shown no qualms in killing Muslim foreigners. And although Pakistan has no troops in Iraq, it is a major American ally. It is unlikely that the kidnappers cared much what Pakistan’s policy on kidnappings was. They could of course let the hostage go off after extracting a solemn promise not to work for the Americans, but that looks more like a ‘cover’ reason for a ransom paid. So far, the Iraqi insurgents have not shown a profit motive in their kidnappings.

Two possibilities emerge. First, the release of the hostage could either mean that the high-profile kidnappings in Iraq have led to copy-cat groups who take hostages for ransom, something on the lines of the Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines; and second, this could prove that the insurgency is based on Iraqi nationalism alone, rather than linked to al Qaeda’s designs. It may be time for the United States and its allies to factor in these possibilities in their security calculations for Iraq.

2 thoughts on “Why was the Pakistani hostage released?”

  1. Or it could depend on the amount of ink generated by an American hostage vs a Turkish or Pakistani one. Have no doubt these are marketing wars going on in Iraq with each attack or beheading serving an explicit role in the battle for the “hearts and minds of Iraqis” (if I can use such a trite phrase.)
    A gruesome murder of a pakistani, i am saddened to say, will not be the press spectacle that a nick berg was/is.
    And I just read that they beheaded Wassef Ali Hassoun, the US Marine – obviously a Muslim but an American…..

  2. Sepoy – that’s option (f); quite likely too.

    But note the distinct difference between the Khobar terrorists who specifically targeted non-Muslims, vs the Iraqi insurgents who are more secular in their choice of victims.

    Iraq is not a major front in the war against bin Laden and his acolytes.

Comments are closed.