Birmingham & Black Country

Pakistan police hunt 'kidnapped' Briton

Police in Pakistan are searching for a British man who may have been kidnapped for ransom in the country's southern Sindh province.

Harris Iqbal, 25, was last seen on 15 September leaving his rented home in the town of Nowshero Feroz.

His family told the BBC they were contacted by kidnappers who have demanded a ransom.

But police officials told the BBC they thought Mr Iqbal had disappeared after joining Islamic extremist groups.

Phone conversation

The missing man's father, Iqbal Khan, said: "We got in touch with the kidnappers when they answered Harris's phone on 18 september."

Mr Khan said his son, who originally comes from Sparkhill, in Birmingham and is also known to his family as Ali, had been living in the district of Mirpurkhas, in southern Sindh.

"We had been trying to get in touch as nobody had seen him since the 15th.

"My daughter, who was trying his cellphone, finally got through, but a stranger answered.

"He said 'we have your son and you must pay us 10 million rupees (£140,000) in ransom'."

'He begged'

Mr Khan said the kidnapper then let his son speak on the phone.

"Ali told my wife he had been beaten and made to sleep on the bare ground.

"He begged her to get him out as soon as possible."

Mr Khan said the kidnappers later called them and raised the ransom to 20 million rupees (£280,000).

He said the calls were made to his home in Birmingham and the Pakistani police force was monitoring the case.

Police in the Mirpurkhas district said they had registered the case of kidnapping as reported to them by Mr Khan.

Zulfiqar Maher from the Pakistani police force said: "(Harris Iqbal) was a very religious man and we have found a large cache of Islamic literature from his house here.

"We believe he has gone off with some (Islamic) group and is now getting his friends to make the calls.

"We have strong evidence to back this up, but we can't disclose it to the media at the moment.

"The British authorities and his family have been informed of this."

Commerce student

Mr Khan said his son was not involved with Jihadist groups but had come into contact with other religious Islamic groups in the UK two years ago.

Harris Iqbal had then travelled to Pakistan to pursue his dream of living in an Islamic society, his father said.

"I first brought him to Lahore in July.

"He then went to Karachi, and then was living in Nowshero Feroz where my wife's family has relatives.

"Harris wanted to set up a business over here and wanted to do some homework before starting.

"He was also studying a commerce degree in Solihull College in Birmingham and also working part time."

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