Islamabad: Three prominent Hindu businessmen were kidnapped along with their driver by unidentified armed men in Sindh province of southern Pakistan on Saturday.

The businessmen, Ramesh Lal, Ashok Kumar and Hari Ram, were abducted with their driver in Ranipur area of Sindh, Pakistan Hindu Council patron Ramesh Kumar Vankwani said on phone.

In addition to being a prominent trader, Lal is the president of the Hindu panchayat of Thul sub-division of Jacobabad district. The businessmen were going from Karachi to Jacobabad city when they were abducted.

The driver was recovered during a search operation conducted by police. However, police were yet to trace the businessmen. Scores of members of the minority Hindu community, especially traders, have been kidnapped in Sindh and Balochistan provinces over the past few years.

The abductions have been blamed on militant groups and criminal gangs. "The law and order situation is not very good and the kidnapping of Hindu traders for ransom is increasing. They are seen as easy targets," Vankwani said.

Ashok Kumar is rice mills owner in Jacobabad. "The kidnappers also took away the driver, Babu Lashari," Vankwani said.

He said the driver was later found tied up by some villagers and he had informed the families and council. He said until now the families of the kidnapped persons had not received any calls for ransom or for any other reason.

"I informed the police and District police officer immediately after the incident took place we came to know about it," Ramesh said.

"The police is cooperating but they also appear helpless as kidnapping of Hindu traders is now becoming a regular incident in the interior areas of Sindh," he added.

A family member of one of the kidnapped trader's, Ramesh Lal, confirmed they had got a call but no ransom demand had been made as yet.


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