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. buzz

    And after we shuffle off this mortal coil its really just total blackness anyway...........

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

      Thanks Matt...... Cheers

      May 21, 2010 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bhiariah

    The Qur'an is full of contradictions, and radical muslims choose the interpretations that jusitfy their deeds. One of the final suras states that holy war is justified in the name of Allah and that the killing of non believers in the pursuit of driving the Jews out of the Muslim holy land is a necessity – at least, this is one interpretation of that chapter. Peace-loving Muslims dispute that meaning (thankfully) but those who promote violence aimed at the US, Europe or Isreal use it to uphold their moral right to kill.

    May 21, 2010 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • shepherd

      Bhiariah, i simply challenge you to provide reference exactly to that verse you are talking about, what sura , what ayat, plz? If you are TRUTHFUL. And if you are not able to come up with that then simply stop spreading lies of a religion you know nothing of.

      May 21, 2010 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Matt

    I think some men just refuse to be tamed. Most of us just want to work hard, have fun, and live to the best of our abilities. Others just want to destroy what man has built.

    May 21, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tsk Tsk

      I agree with you Matt.

      May 21, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Tsk Tsk

    Bhiariah, Those radicals are no different then KKK or Nazi's e.t.c They will choose what they want and interpret it how they want it and justify it to folks who have never read the true meanings of it. Then they send them to do their dirty deeds and kill innocents, while they themselves never take part in any of it. And those who follow them, well they built their own Hell not heaven. BUT the innocents they killed will go to heaven.

    May 21, 2010 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      The only difference is the United States dealt with the KKK and kept them under wraps, Pakistan and the Middle East doesn't do anything of note with terrorists.

      May 21, 2010 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tsk Tsk

      OH yes they are, Pakistan and Middle east asked USA for help :). and US is helping out..

      May 21, 2010 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. buzz

    Why can't all of Islam sit down and get their stories straight.... if there are all of these mullahs that each have their own take on things then it is a very poorly composed story....... You say that passage or suras is an interpretation so whose interpretation would I believe, if I had five islamists in the room with me

    May 21, 2010 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tsk Tsk

      rule of thumb, never listen to an over emotional mullah, preacher e.t.c who are talking about killing people. They have the wrong interpretation. All religions are of peace. its the people who take them the wrong way. its like how can I get more money back from the IRS. believe it or not, most of the mullahs are well fed and have money and want more...

      May 21, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Michael, Chapel HIll

    Most of the Indians and Pakistanis are of the same race and culture,but what makes them now is their RELIGION.

    May 21, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      yup, its funny how two sides just cant say, ok, you believe this, i believe that...good for you, have a nice day.

      May 21, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tsk Tsk

      And the funny part is, out side of india and pakistan, They are all friends. But now because of these TV Channels, the hatred is dieing down. heck I didnt knew that indians loved pakistani TV dramas, just like they didn't know that we loved their movies.

      May 21, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      I am more aware of Russian and Polish movies...very entertaining. Open to some good Indian and Pakistani ones if you have any suggestions.

      May 21, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • derek

      Mr Chuckle...Tsk.tsk. India has different cultures. We blend with each other and have no problem. I am Catholic and we have the third largest Catholic population in the world and I am an American!

      There were only two countires in the world since inception which never annexed or changed .. India and China and they still rule the roster! They maybe sleeeping Giants but still the Greatest! We have churches which are over 800 years old ( before America was ever discovered), Temples older than that !!

      I think you need to go to Taco Bell and think outside your Bun, It is corrupted!

      May 21, 2010 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Matt

    Ha and then you have this, courtesy of Mr. Toby Keith:
    Oh, justice will be served and the battle will rage:
    This big dog will fight when you rattle his cage.
    An' you'll be sorry that you messed with the U.S. of A.
    'Cos we'll put a boot in your ass, it's the American way.

    Hey, Uncle Sam put your name at the top of his list,
    And the Statue of Liberty started shaking her fist.
    And the eagle will fly and it's gonna be hell,
    When you hear Mother Freedom start ringing her bell.
    And it'll feel like the whole wide world is raining down on you.
    Ah, brought to you, courtesy of the red, white and blue.

    May 21, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      Ha gotta love Country music!

      May 21, 2010 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  8. muslim_PAKI

    @TSK TSK, Thank you for saying all the right things! These terrorists, idiots.. POS should be hanged! They have no right to take anyones live

    May 21, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Matt

    Its funny, as an American, my Aussie friend summed me up the best saying, "you are like a big sponge, all you do is ask me about Australia, and countries around the world, but never mention anything about The States."

    I love meeting people from different cultures, sucks that not everyone is like that. Oh and by the way, I am a Republican...we aren't all bad!

    May 21, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Bhiariah

    I don't think the Nazi's and KKK are the same as radial Islamists at all. The KKK and Nazi's had social-based belief systems which lead by humans, and they were successful (for a time) because people inherently want to believe they are better than others, and those systems supported that belief. Radical Islamists are different because they feel empowered by a religous doctrine that not only supports what they want to do (reign supreme over all others) but it also makes it their responsibility to wage holy war. The changing social climates in Germany and US invalidated the Nazi's and KKK's belief system, but these religious views are going to be MUCH, MUCH harder to change. They're not going to change from the US (or Isreal, etc) winning a war against Islam, they're going to have to change because moderate Islamic believers demand it.

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

      actually they are the same, The belief of I AM right and YOU are wrong, that is the same mindset that those radicals have. heck they kill their fellow muslims for not following what they believe in, when ISLAM clearly is against killing any human. killing one human is like killing the whole humanity in islam. and the punishment for that is hell NOT heaven in islam. how can they follow islam when they dont even follow the basic principals of islam of helping their fellow human being. they should first help each other out in need and eliminate poverty before calling other's on the wrong path.

      May 21, 2010 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Death to America

    @ Bhiariah,

    Have you ever looked into your Vedas??? You point your finger at Quran.. There are killing passages in every book.. But Quran laid some rules for the war.. whereas Bible, Vedas and Talmud allow their believers to plunder and kill woman and children.. So who is barbaric???? Islam strongly denies killing women and Children or cutting off trees or damaging anything that is not in direct war with Muslims.. !!! Wake up.. you simply hate Muslims and Islam.. and WE HATE YOU.. more than anything and we will show you what our hate is like

    May 21, 2010 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tsk Tsk

      And You Sir are Stupid. Go read more about Islam first and learn about Dawa before you start pointing fingers at others. That is what is wrong in today's society, every one is sooooo angry........ calm down bud.

      May 21, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      Your hate tastes like chicken...

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

      beside the reason other religion make fun of muslims is because Muslims are at war with each other.

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

      Again to my earlier point, some people you just cant tame. They refuse to do anything to move society forward, they are in fact just animals with larger brains...and this fellow seems to be in that mold.

      May 21, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • American

      Islam was spead becoz two reason..

      1 Forceful conversion : it was imposed on people
      2. ileterate people just keep producing .. muslim idiots have 4 wife and each wife has 5 to 6 kids.. so it multiply.. it does not speread becoz of something good.. shame on them...

      May 21, 2010 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      Christianity was spread much the same way...see the inquisition, the crusades, the colonization of the Americas, Africa, Europe, and the Far East. By the sword, and to the ignorant. All religion is spread by force or by fear.

      May 21, 2010 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Taylor

    Another one from Pakistan

    May 21, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Bhiariah

    Dear Death to America,

    If you'll notice my second post I suggested that people read the book Son of Hamas in order to learn more about Muslim and Arabic culture from a Muslim man, as opposed to having uninformed biases. What I said about the Qur'an came from that book, it came from an ex-Hamas leader. It wasn't a fabrication. I very much do not hate Muslims, I am not the one preaching to kill anyone – terrorists or otherwise – unlike others on this chat. My point is that the RADICALS interpret the Quran to support their war, not all MUSLIMS. Who is barbaric? At this point in time, it's YOU my friend who is preaching about your hate, not me.

    May 21, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      see normal sane human beings can get along...others, not so much. I don't care what your religion is, I respect it, but don't want to to interfere with my life. Sooo that being said, go worship God, and I will go learn about science, and we can both live happy lives...no need to kill anyone. Well except for those pesky Swiss...always neutral, I don't buy it! Just kidding of course.

      May 21, 2010 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Death to America

    Really??? Have they left us anything to calm down for??? These insane fools draw cartoons and think that is only fair.. I have been a php developer, married with a kid.. but i have decided to go to taliban and ask them to take me as a fighter so I cam bomb Americans and hack them to death... We will segregate america into small states and then we will kill them leaving their children and women – animals and others.. But we won't leave their men.. They will die!

    May 21, 2010 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tsk Tsk

      You do know that Muhammad PBUH had people made fun of him, got stones thrown at him, etc and yet he kept persistence with peaceful preaching, just like Jesus (eisa) and Moses (musa). Follow their path, Thats how religion is spread, Islam was never spread by sword, christianity was not spread by sword, Judiasm was not spread by sword.

      May 21, 2010 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chachee

      haha, someone's mother didnt love them.

      May 21, 2010 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bhiariah

      It wasn't me, Death. I have been talking about understanding how terrorist justify their actions by intentional misterpretation of your Qur'an. Yes, I believe your post said "we will show you what our hate is like". That's what most people would call preaching hate. I have no idea what made you what you are today, perhaps something horrible happened to you or your family to hate Americans, or maybe you're just confused and easily lead. I know that what you're saying does not reflect the good, peaceful teaching of the Qur'an, so I guess you will have to answer for yourself what made you hate Americans so much.

      May 21, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • derek

      tsk,,tsk... I am sure your are Jewish !! I am an Indian Catholic but an American!

      May 21, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Death to America

    @Bhiariah...

    You think I am preaching hate??? who has instilled hate in me??? Answer me? Who made me think about killing Americans? Do justice and post the answer to this question!!!

    May 21, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      You choose your own will, others dont choose it for you. You bring all to yourself. No one forced you to hate. You have a weak soul, and thus choose the easy path of hate, rather than the hard path of education and peace.

      May 21, 2010 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      weak mind...maybe not soul

      May 21, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tsk Tsk

      UMMM FBI ?????????????? you better be monitoring this guy, my tax dollars better get spent the right way in catching this guy before anything happens. He IS a lost case...Drone him...

      May 21, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • derek

      tsk... tsk... another Madoff in the making!!

      May 21, 2010 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
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