Two Pakistanis feared captured in Iraq

Two Pakistani nationals working for a Middle East firm are believed to have been captured in Iraq after they were announced missing.

    This group of truck drivers are among the latest captives in Iraq

    A Pakistani foreign official spokesman Masud Khan said on Sunday they were still trying to find out the details of their disappearance.

    Khan said relatives of the two missing men had contacted the Pakistani authorities expressing fears for their safety. 

    "We will try our best to get them released if they are kidnapped," he added. However, no one had made contact with the Pakistani government, he said.

    A Pakistani television channel identified the two as Raja Azad and Sajid Naaim.

    Both of them are from Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

    Egyptian diplomat captured

    The television channel quoted family members as saying they had lost contacts with the two.

    Muhammad Mamduh Hilmi is the
    first diplomat to be captured

    Speculation about the two men's whereabouts come in the wake of  recent seizures of foreigners in Iraq.

    Muhammad Mamduh Hilmi, a senior Egyptian diplomat, was seized in Baghdad after prayers on Friday by a group calling itself "Lions of God and Lions of Islam Brigades".

    A group of seven truck drivers - three Indians, three Kenyans and one Egyptian - working for a Kuwaiti firm were seized earlier during the week. 

    Pakistani troops

    Pakistan, meanwhile, told the United Nations it would send troops to Iraq if the Iraqi government asked for them and other Muslim nations also sent soldiers.

    Information Minister Shaikh Rashid Ahmad said President Pervez Musharraf spoke with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and discussed the Iraqi situation.

    "The President made it clear that we could consider sending troops only if the request comes from the Iraqi government, other Islamic countries also do the same and our parliament approves it," he said.

    Pakistan, an Islamic nation of 150 million people, is a key ally of the United States in its war on "terror".

    Islamic groups in Pakistan are, however, opposed to helping  US-led occupation forces in Iraq and have threatened protests if Islamabad agrees to send troops.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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