Pakistan arrests notorious New York bank robbers on the run from FBI 

Waqar Ghumman and Mohsin Zamir have been on the FBI's most wanted list since they robbed a New York bank in 2016, with a combined $30,000 bounty for reports leading to their capture. (Photo courtesy: FBI)
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Updated 28 June 2020

Pakistan arrests notorious New York bank robbers on the run from FBI 

  • Waqar Ghumman and Mohsin Zamir have been at large since 2016 with a $30,000 FBI bounty for their capture
  • ‘FIA will take due course of law for their extradition to America,’ says official

LAHORE: The Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) Cyber Crime Wing on Saturday arrested two Pakistani-Americans who have been on the run from the FBI for carrying out an armed bank robbery in Buffalo, New York, in 2016.
The two – Waqar Ghumman and Mohsin Zamir – were arrested in Lahore, and have been on the FBI’s most wanted criminals list with a combined $30,000 reward for reports leading to their capture. Their runaway driver was arrested soon after the robbery in New York and sentenced to seven years in prison but the two eluded capture and escaped to Pakistan.
Both men are US citizens born in Pakistan, according to reports in US newspapers.
“We arrested two FBI most wanted men in Lahore on Saturday,” Abdur Rab Chaudhary, Director Operations for the FIA’s Cyber Crime Wing, told Arab News on Sunday.
“One of them-- Waqar Ghumman-- was arrested while committing a crime at an ATM machine, while the other-- Mohsin Zamir-- was identified during investigations and arrested later,” he said.
“Since they are on the most wanted criminals list of the FBI, the FIA will take due course of law for their extradition to America subject to the agency’s contact through proper channels once our investigation procedure is complete and subject to the approval of the government,” Chaudhary said.
In a broadcast by a local American TV news network in May 2017, FBI special agent Eric Sakovics said: “Like a scene from a movie, two men were covered head to toe and entered the Evans Bank on Niagara Falls Boulevard in early January 2016, both brandishing weapons and demanding cash.”
They two men ordered bank employees to get on the ground and then “made off with a substantial amount of money.”
A high speed police chase followed but the men managed to get away when two police cars in pursuit collided into each other, he said.
Soon after the robbery, the FBI announced a substantial money reward for tips leading to their arrest and cautioned the public.
“These guys are very dangerous and they don’t care who they hurt to get what they want,” Sakovics said. “There’s a big reward up for grabs for any information leading to the arrest of Ghumman and Zamir. The FBI is offering $15,000 each. That’s $30,000 for the capture of these two men.”
The FBI also tweeted details of the two men on its official twitter account and issued a public poster with background details about the two robbers and long-time friends.
Ghumman, the poster said, was a truck driver while Zamir was an IT expert and devoted fitness enthusiast often employed through modelling agencies.
As early as 2017, the FBI suspected the two had escaped to Pakistan according to details on the issued poster.
“After committing the crime they left America and crossed into Mexico and then reached Brazil,” Chaudhry told Arab News.
“There they hired the services of a human trafficking agent and reached Pakistan secretly.”
The two men belong to Sargodha, a fast growing city nearly 200 km northwest of Lahore. 


Pakistan's support for Kashmiri cause unwavering, Raheel Sharif says in Riyadh

Updated 31 October 2020

Pakistan's support for Kashmiri cause unwavering, Raheel Sharif says in Riyadh

  • Pakistani embassy in Riyadh held a seminar on the human rights situation in Kashmiri territory to mark Kashmir Black Day
  • Kashmiri self-determination is not only a moral and legally justified right, former Saudi ambassador to Pakistan says

ISLAMABAD: Former Pakistan army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif said that Pakistan supports the Kashmiri cause with an "unflinching resolve."

The general's comment came during a seminar, "Human Rights Situation in Kashmir: Implications for Regional Peace and Stability," organized by the Pakistani embassy in Riyadh to observe Kashmir Black Day on Thursday.

"Let it be known that every citizen of Pakistan stands united with the people of Kashmir and supports their struggle for freedom with an unflinching resolve," said Gen. Raheel Sharif, who now leads the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition, a counterterrorist alliance of Muslim countries, which is headquartered in Saudi Arabia.

"The issue of Kashmir is very close to every Pakistani’s heart as we fully understand the cause and dynamics of this struggle right from the beginning. We have closely witnessed the sufferings of our Kashmiri brethren and appreciate their resolve and valor in pursuit of their goal and fundamental human rights."

Former Pakistan army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif participates in a seminar organized in Riyadh by the Pakistani embassy to observe Kashmir Black Day on Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020. (Pakistan Embassy Riyadh via AN)

Kashmiri territory is divided between India and Pakistan, but both countries claim the region in its entirety. Crackdowns in the Indian-administered part have been escalating since August 2019, when New Delhi scrapped Articles 370 and 35A of the constitution, which gave Kashmiris limited autonomy and protected their domicile and employment rights.

If not reversed, the Indian regime's August move, Sharif said, will cause "further unrest in the region."

Saudi Arabia's former ambassador to Pakistan, Ali Awadh Asseri, who was one of speakers in the seminar, said that last year's change in Kashmir's status "through annexation and division of the internationally recognized disputed region," as well as subsequent lockdown and "enforced demographic shift currently underway" have aggravated the humanitarian crisis in the region.

"Kashmiri people are facing a more dangerous situation now as every passing day is marginalizing their political status and socio-economic space," he said during the seminar, as he recalled serving in Pakistan and leading Saudi relief efforts after an earthquake that devastated Kashmir in 2005.  

Saudi Arabia's former ambassador to Pakistan, Ali Awadh Asseri, participates in a seminar organized in Riyadh by the Pakistani embassy to observe Kashmir Black Day on Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020. (Pakistan Embassy Riyadh via AN)

He said the relief could not reach the Indian-administered part of the territory, as New Delhi did not grant access. "We remember that Kashmir on the other side of LOC also faced devastating effects of the earthquake but could not do much due to lack of access by the Indian authorities."

"Kashmiri people want to live their lives according to their free will and India has denied this basic right and instead chosen the path of repression," Asseri added.

"The Kashmiri demand of self-determination is not only the moral right but also legally justified under UN security council resolutions."

India on Wednesday notified new laws that allow non-Kashmiris to buy land in the disputed region, rising concerns that the new regulation would dilute the Muslim-majority character of the region.

"Contrary to Indian claims of bringing development to the Kashmir valley, the real motive remains altering the demographics of the Muslim-majority territory," Islamabad's ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Raja Ali Ejaz, told Arab News after the seminar.

He added that the Pakistani government remains "fully committed to the Kashmir cause."