More Pak links to NY car bomb


Prime VIP

The American embassy on Friday warned that terrorist groups may have "established links" with a high-class catering company in Pakistan that a security official said is owned by a suspect arrested for the failed car bombing in Times Square.

In an e-mail to Americans in Pakistan, the embassy said US government personnel had been instructed to avoid using the Hanif Rajput Catering Service, a firm used by it and other foreign missions in the capital.

The embassy said suspicions about the catering company have been shared with Pakistan government agencies.

The message said Rajput was owned by Rana Ashraf Khan and his son Salman Ashraf. Earlier this week, a senior security official — speaking anonymously due to the sensitive nature of the case — identified Salman as one of the persons arrested in Pakistan for alleged links with Pakistani-American Faisal Shahzad, primary suspect in the failed car bombing.

The official said another arrested suspect, Ahmed Raza, was a cousin of Salman's.

A man who answered the phone at Rajput declined to comment. A biography on the firm's website said Salman studied in Houston, Texas before returning home to run the family business.

Shahzad was arrested on May 3 — two days after the Times Square incident — at the JFK International Airport while trying to escape on a Dubai-bound flight.

US authorities suspect he had contacts with members of the Pakistani Taliban. Shahzad was born in Pakistan but moved to the US when he was 18. He reportedly spent some time in Pakistan recently.

Pakistan has detained at least four people suspected of links with Shahzad.