NPR logo Times Sq Suspect Hails From High-Status Pakistani Family


Times Sq Suspect Hails From High-Status Pakistani Family

Faisal Shahzad, the suspect in the failed car-bombing attempt of New York City's Time Square, comes from a well-to-do Pakistani family. His father is a retired vice marshal in Pakistan's air force and now one of that nation's top aviation officials.

It's a circumstance somewhat reminiscent of the alleged Christmas Day bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab whose father was former chairman of First Bank of Nigeria.

And, to a degree, it's also a reminder of the background of al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden's background, a scion of Saudi wealth who rejected it to wage a terror campaign against the West, particularly the U.S.

The Associated Press reports:

Shahzad is the son of a former top Pakistani air force officer and deputy director general of the civil aviation authority, according to Kifyat Ali, the cousin of Faisal Shahzad's father.

Ali told reporters outside a two-story home in an upmarket part of Peshawar, the main city in northwestern Pakistan, that the family had yet to be officially informed of Shahzad's arrest in the United States.

"This is a conspiracy so the (Americans) can bomb more Pashtuns," Ali said, referring to a major ethnic group in Peshawar and the nearby tribal areas of Pakistan and southwest Afghanistan.

"He was never linked to any political or religious party here."

He said Faisal often stayed in Peshawar when he came back fromthe United States.

His mother and father, retired Air Vice Marshall Baharul Haq, had left the house for an undisclosed location because of the media interest.

One man detained in Karachi was identified only as Tauseef and was a friend of Shahzad, according to one official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because Pakistani intelligence officers insist on anonymity as a matter of policy. Media reports described
some of the others detained as relatives of Shahzad.

In Washington, Pakistani Embassy spokesman Nadeem Haider Kiani said early indications suggest the bomber was "a disturbed individual."