BAGHDAD — Officials and the family of a Pakistani Embassy employee kidnapped in the Iraqi capital appealed Sunday for his captors to release him.
Malik Mohammed Javed, 51, a consular and community affairs employee at the embassy, went missing in Baghdad on Saturday after leaving home to pray at a mosque, officials said.
"I appeal to the kidnappers to release Malik Mohammed Javed. He is a civilian member of the embassy staff," Pakistani Information Minister Sheik Rashid Ahmed said at a news conference in Islamabad, Pakistan's capital.
Ahmed said a spokesman of an organization called the Omar bin Khattab group phoned the embassy Sunday and claimed responsibility for the kidnapping.
"The kidnappers allowed Malik Javed to talk to embassy officials," Ahmed said. "Malik Javed said that he is safe."
A senior Pakistani government official said the kidnappers were demanding $1 million for his release.
Putting a stop to rampant kidnapping is one of the challenges facing Iraq's new government, which is slowly taking shape.
Last week Shiite Muslim leader Ibrahim Jafari was named prime minister and Kurdish resistance leader Jalal Talabani was named president.
Talabani on Sunday called for extending amnesty to some Iraqi insurgents as part of a drive that he said could help end attacks within months.
"There are two kinds of killing: in battle or in action, this could be covered by the amnesty," Talabani said. "Those who are involved in killing innocent people, detonation of car bombs, killing people in mosques and in churches, these would not be covered by the amnesty."
Talabani did not say specifically whether the amnesty would apply to fighters who had killed U.S. and other foreign troops as well as Iraqi forces, and he did not elaborate on how the amnesty would work.
Former interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said Sunday that his parliamentary bloc would join the next government and was negotiating how many Cabinet posts it would receive.
Allawi had previously indicated that he would not join the government.
In violence Sunday, gunmen killed a member of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, a leading Shiite political party, and seriously wounded another in a drive-by shooting in Baghdad. The group led by Jordanian militant Abu Musab Zarqawi said it was behind the attack.
Meanwhile, the U.S. military said an American soldier died Saturday from wounds suffered Wednesday in a "nonhostile" incident.
Additional details were not released.