Profile: Faisal Shahzad

Image caption,
Faisal Shahzad told neighbours he worked on Wall Street

Faisal Shahzad, convicted of an attempted car bomb attack in New York's Times Square, has been sentenced to life in prison without parole.

The 31-year-old Pakistan-born US citizen was sentenced in Manhattan federal court by US District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum.

During his statement before the verdict, Shahzad showed no remorse for his actions, defiantly warning that war with the Muslim world "has just begun".

In June, he admitted all 10 charges against him in connection with a failed car-bomb attack in the heart of New York in May.

He described himself as a Muslim soldier and warned the US to leave "Muslim lands" alone.

He was arrested on board a plane to Dubai at John F Kennedy airport two days after the failed attack.

Frequent flyer

Shahzad became a naturalised US citizen on 17 April 2009.

Sources have told the BBC that he is the son of retired Air Vice-Marshal Bahar-ul-Haque, a former head of Pakistan's Civil Aviation Authority, but this is unconfirmed.

His family is said to come from the northern frontier city of Peshawar, close to the strongholds and training grounds of the Taliban.

Shahzad married there, the sources added. His wife and at least one of their two young children are currently believed to be living in Karachi with relatives.

He moved to the US in 1998 on a student visa, according to officials, and eventually enrolled at the University of Bridgeport where he received a bachelor's degree in computer applications and information systems in 2000.

William Greenspan, adviser for undergraduate business students at the university, described him as "personable, a nice guy, but unremarkable".

Shahzad later returned to the university and was awarded a masters in business administration in 2005.

Pakistan's Interior Minister, Rehman Malik, told the BBC that Shahzad had made eight to 10 visits in the past seven years, and had travelled to several locations including Karachi and Peshawar.

His most recent visit to the country was in early February.

The minister said there was no evidence at this stage that Shahzad had links to militants, but added that investigations were just beginning.

Mr Malik also said there had been no arrests so far in Pakistan, contradicting local media reports that said Shahzad's father-in-law and another man who spent time with him had been detained.


US officials say Shahzad drove the 1993 Nissan Pathfinder 4x4 found loaded with gasoline, propane, fireworks and fertilizer in the heart of Times Square, which was packed with people.

He is believed to have bought the vehicle in the weeks leading up to the attempted attack for $1,300 (£812), a transaction that eventually led to his arrest.

The FBI searched Shahzad's home in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and removed several filled plastic bags from inside.

A former neighbour in nearby Shelton told local newspapers that Shahzad and his wife had lived at a house there for about three years before moving out last year.

Shahzad left about May, and his wife followed about a month later, said the neighbour, Brenda Thurman.

She said she assumed the Shelton property had been repossessed after noticing personal items had been left behind and because of the long grass that took over the lawn in the following months.

"They left a lot of their stuff there," she said. "All they really took was a refrigerator."

Ms Thurman said Shahzad got up early every morning to go to work and had told her that he worked on Wall Street.

"I think he caught the train to New York," she said.

Ms Thurman described the suspect as "a little bit strange".

"He didn't like to come out during the day," she explained.

But Audrey Sokol, a teacher who lived next door to Shahzad in Shelton, said he would wave and say hello, and that he seemed normal.

She said she thought he had worked in nearby Norwalk.

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