May 21st, 2010
12:39 PM ET

Man arrested in Pakistan in connection with Times Square case

[Updated at 1:39 p.m.] Pakistani authorities have arrested the son of a prominent catering company owner in connection with the attempted Times Square bombing case, U.S. and Pakistani officials told CNN Friday.

Salman Ashraf was taken into custody a few days ago, the officials said.

His father, Rana Ashraf Khan, who owns Hanif Rajput Catering, said that he was shocked by the news of the arrest and that his son had been missing for the past 12 days.

Salman Ashraf had been talking to the Taliban about fingering Pakistani military and other VIPs at diplomatic and other government events, according to a U.S. official with knowledge of the case.

The U.S. Embassy warned American citizens that terrorist groups might have set up ties with the Islamabad caterer, one of Pakistan's largest, and advised them to avoid using the company.

Faisal Shahzad, a 30-year-old Pakistani American, faces five counts in connection with the botched bomb attempt in New York's Times Square on May 1. He could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted.

He also pondered attacks on Rockefeller Center, Grand Central Terminal, and the World Financial Center in New York City, and Connecticut helicopter manufacturer Sikorsky, going so far as to case some of the targets, according to a senior counterterrorism official with oversight of the investigation.

Shahzad's arrest heightened concerns about the Pakistani Taliban, which authorities believe directed the Times Square plot. U.S. intelligence officials fear that the Taliban is actively plotting to strike within the United States and target American interests overseas.

The concerns about the group are coming from multiple streams of information, including from Shahzad, the officials said.

[Updated at 12:38 p.m.] Authorities have arrested Salman Ashraf, the son of a prominent catering company owner, in connection with the attempted Times Square bombing case, a senior Pakistani official told CNN.

[Posted at 11:59 a.m.] The U.S. Embassy has warned American citizens that terrorist groups might have set up ties with an Islamabad catering service.

The company, Hanif Rajput Catering Service, is owned by Rana Ashraf Khan and his son, Salman Ashraf.

The embassy posted a notice on its website Friday saying government personnel "have been instructed to avoid using this company."

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Filed under: Pakistan • Terrorism
soundoff (226 Responses)
  1. Darlene Buckingham

    Peace to all. You have more serious problems in your own Country – the Gulf oil spill – hatred and greed is destroying your Country and harming others. Its time to look at you own hearts and spirits. My Country Canada is on the same road to destruction – the oil sands are an environmental devastation. Many Canadians protest against the oils sands and demand green energy. The politicians and Corporations are ignoring us. Somehow we have to switch to green energy and live in peace and harmony. Are we up to it. The US I so so sad to sad is fueling hatred, fear and greed. It seems to me to be a lot about a failed, amateur bomb attack that did not cause any damage. Your Gulf is being damaged in a way that is horrible and Americans still hate. Let the love for our Planet unite us and lets clean up our beloved beautiful Earth. Peace Peace PEace

    May 21, 2010 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Q

    @Nellore S. Venkatarfman –Moses, Buddha, Christ, Mohammed, and Gandhi? This shows your level of education about religion and about history. Budda & Gandhi are not prophets of God, and they never claimed to be. Islam is no more a terrorist religion than any other religion. For every violent passage or line that you find in the Koran, I can show you 10 examples in the Bible. The point here is not let your emotion get in the way of your "intellect" and better judgement.

    May 21, 2010 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Matt

    Wow, does this look like an Indian/Pakistani showdown on the comment section or what...
    Ill watch from a distance. But you can do this the old fashioned way...who ever dies first...loses!

    May 21, 2010 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tsk Tsk

      I say we should give every one in this world a gun. That way every one will think twice before killing or hurting some one....

      May 21, 2010 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Desi

    Tsk Tsk: Your mouth is like a loaded gun, look at your comments, pretty clear they go from the mouth, no connection with something called brain !!! Were you Pakis hired by your govt to keep watching Paki columns and just shoot or what?
    Can't have any intellectua/decentl conversation with you guys. Good luck with your rants .... I'm leaving

    May 21, 2010 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tsk Tsk

      Desi, You sir are doing nothing but spreading hatred, so I needed to climb down my moral ladder to reply to your stupid comment at your level. did it hurt?

      May 21, 2010 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tsk Tsk

      Oh by the way, India didn't even make it to 20 20 semi's. Pakistan did. did that Indian ego of yours gave you a constipation?

      May 21, 2010 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • derek

      tskk.tskk.. or chuckle..chuckle.. Paki matches fixed in Australia! read the news!!

      May 21, 2010 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Harry

    "Salman Ashraf had been talking to the Taliban about fingering Pakistani military and other VIPs at diplomatic and other government events, according to a U.S....."
    I don't know about you, but that guy aint fingering me!!!

    May 21, 2010 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tsk Tsk

      Hey, He got what he deserved.......

      May 21, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Q

    @ Nellore –there are so many hateful & violent passages in the bible to list here, but here is one that pretty much sums up what is happening in the world now -enjoy 🙂

    Deuteronomy 20:10-14

    10 When you march up to attack a city, make its people an offer of peace. 11 If they accept and open their gates, all the people in it shall be subject to forced labor and shall work for you. 12 If they refuse to make peace and they engage you in battle, lay siege to that city. 13 When the LORD your God delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the men in it. 14 As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves. And you may use the plunder the LORD your God gives you from your enemies.

    May 21, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mondore

      I had in mind the quotations from Deuteronomy about the proper technnique to deal with enemies through deceit and, that failing, ih more direct ways. I wanted to point out that, sinister as those techniques were, they at least made some awful sense from the standpoint of consistency. Like Hitler's view of the Aryan lebensraum or claiming of territory as one's vital space. But some other parts of the Old Testament look like the origin of the theater of the absurd. Example: the story of Jephthah who, in the wonderful words of Voltaire, "Cut his daughter's throat because he had won a battle."

      May 21, 2010 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Ruben Navarrette

    I think we should just cut to the chase and invade N Korea and Pakistan. these two places are not unlike a private area that has been infected by ST dee's

    May 21, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Art H

    Seems like the whole region is a cesspool of terrorism and its adherents – even people who are traditionally not considered contributors to the jihadi cause. I think the US ought to be extra cautious when granting the residency requests or employment requests or citizenship requests of people from that region.

    Thank the action of this traitor – Shahzad – for that, who misused the freedoms associated with the rights given to him in this country, to indulge in an act of terrorism.

    May 21, 2010 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tsk Tsk

      Shahzad is from the tribal area where Pakistans Army is fighting the terrorists. I am sure he would get a GREAT welcome in the Prison by Bubba.

      May 21, 2010 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Bhiariah

    THANK YOU Harry – your inane comment is the only way to conclude the ridiculous exchange of jabs between Tsk Tsk and Desi. And to Darlene, I understand your point of view and while I share it completely, you're completely off subject – you might be more effective posting under the oil spill articles and let these knuckleheads gripe about who's dumbest, the Hindus or the Muslims. I am not surprised at all that a large, successful company could have ties to the Taliban. Where do you think their money comes from? They're not funded by their paycheks from the Gap, that's for sure.

    May 21, 2010 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  10. buzz

    Muslims always state they are a peaceful religion, Yet when someone draws a cartoon of mohamed they get offended and say we are not for violence but just to show you we are putting a bounty on the cartoonists head or we are going to blow someone up, how peaceful is that. Doesn't mohamed know that the world is full of religions and his followeres have to live on the same planet as jews, christians, buddists etc. Is mohamed that narrow minded... oh oh I better watch it someone will kill me now because I pointed out the obvious. Why don't other religions kill people. You never hear of anglica or lutheren or baptist terrorists.............

    May 21, 2010 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tsk Tsk

      It is wrong to put bounties e.t.c on folks who are expressing their feelings. The problem is muslim world is not islam, its culture, traditions that have nothing to do with the religion. most are illiterate in the troubled areas. for them, "what I say goes" is the mind set and well sometimes a Drone is the answer to that. PLUS they are huge on Poppy crops in afghanistan. So most of the tribes are fighting for that money. Religion is being dragged in for no reason by those folks there. They want MONEY.... why do you think they keep jumping the boat.

      May 21, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  11. lochlan

    More Main Stream Media propaganda for war with Pakistan. Ameicans, the government media is just leading you by the nose. Try to use your brain for once.

    May 21, 2010 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Matt

    I believe that Islam is a peaceful religion at heart. But there are yahoos that interpret it different ways, just like Christianity. The only difference is the Christian yahoos did it in from 500 AD- 1850AD and the Muslims are doing it now.

    May 21, 2010 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Bhiariah

    I don't mean to turn this into a book review – but has anyone read Son of Hamas, by Ron Brackin? It was written by the son of one of the founders of Hamas after he converted to Christianity. I found his explanation of why Muslims feel and act the way they do in terms of their socities and toward the "outside" world to be very insightful. It's worthwhile if you're actually interested in learning the truth instead of coming up with your own uninformed, bias opinions.

    May 21, 2010 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  14. buzz

    TSK TSK.........It seems all the terrorists that get arrested are educated people..... if you have the where with all to construct a bomb and plan an attack you can't be an illiterate. These people place zero value on the life we are living at this moment. Is the rest of the world suppose to just accept the fact that some members of islam believe they are to kill non believers and others are okay with others following a different fatih.

    May 21, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tsk Tsk

      Buzz,
      These terrorists who don't value innocent people's life, that is their own belief, Nothing to do with islam. All of them should be HUNG or shot or what ever people wish to do to them. These terrorists are nothing but puss on the wound. There is a passage in quran and here is the summary, it is talking to non muslims.
      that you do not believe in my God i do not believe in your god, I know you will never believe in my god and I will never believe in your god. so you follow your religion and i will mine.

      it talks about religious freedom. IF these so called muslims who want to kill innocent folks will only read Quran themselves instead of believing on hear say or their corrupt mullas, they would find out that when they commit this act, they go straight to hell NOT heaven.

      May 21, 2010 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tsk Tsk

      The problem with most so called muslims is now a days that they don't read their own book, and instead listen to their corrupt mullah's. and YES it is an issue in muslim countries because the govt's are corrupt. they dont create enough jobs, they dont help their people and rule by stick.

      I say USA should stop helping Pakistan with aid money. That money never gets to the poor, it ends up in the pockets of the corrupt leaders.

      May 21, 2010 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  15. buzz

    Is It not the same God? Don't we just choose to find a different path to get there.

    May 21, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      Yes it is the same God...if you believe in that sort of thing 😉

      May 21, 2010 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tsk Tsk

      Its human nature to think that my thing is better then yours. Some people will take it to the next level and force others to believe in what they think. those people need to be checked. its not just religion, you look at politics, e.t.c. The one thing USA has that other's don't is justice system. and THAT my friend IS the biggie.

      May 21, 2010 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • derek

      chuckle chuckle again!!!

      which is the world's biggest democarcy ? I think you need to watch " who's smarter than a Kindergarten". Justice system was invented in Britain and is in all colonies. The baby country picked it ip last century only. before that was called "Lynching"

      May 21, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
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