Newlywed Swedish man kidnapped in Pakistan

A Swedish businessman has been kidnapped in Pakistan after travelling to the country to get married, newspaper Expressen reported on its website on Saturday.

The 25-year-old disappeared after a walk in the city of Quetta on November 7th, the report said. One day later, the man’s brother received a call from the kidnappers, who demanded a ransom for his release.

“He has now been sold to another criminal group. They are demanding a ransom of 5 million rupees (401,840 kronor, $58,205),” local police chief Ahmed Abidnotkhani told Expressen on Saturday.

Sweden’s foreign ministry has confirmed to news agency TT that a Swede has been kidnapped in Pakistan and that the Swedish embassy in Islamabad is in contact with local authorities.

Last Thursday, Swedish Ambassador to Pakistan Ulrika Sundberg met with Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik, the report said, adding that the foreign ministry declined to comment on what was said at the meeting.

“We are in contact with local authorities,” Sara Brandt-Hansen of the foreign ministry’s press service told Expressen on Saturday.

Attempts by the foreign ministry to free the man so far have been unsuccessful, the report said.

Quetta is the capital of Balochistan, Pakistan’s largest province. It is close to the Afghanistan border and a known al-Qaeda stronghold and haven for the terrorist organisation’s leaders. Several UN employees and journalists have been kidnapped or killed in the city.

It is also only 60 kilometres south of the epicentre of a magnitude 6.4 earthquake that took place in 2008.

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The Swedish towns where couples stay married

Sweden may have a higher than average divorce rate, but there are some areas where couples tend to stay together – at least according to these official marriage stats.

The Swedish towns where couples stay married
File photo of a couple holding hands. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

A total of 24,876 marriages ended in divorce in Sweden in 2015, according to the latest available figures from the country's national number-crunching agency Statistics Sweden.

But some municipalities buck the trend, with couples staying married the longest in Övertorneå, a northern municipality of some 4,500 residents on the border to Finland.

Övertorneå couples stay together for 42 years before they divorce or one of them passes away, followed by fellow northerners in Pajala (40.1 years) and Vimmerby in southern region Småland (40 years).

Compare this to for example Stockholm suburbs Botkyrka and Sundbyberg at the bottom of the list, where the average marriage lasted 15.7 and 15.6 years in 2015, respectively.

“The population is younger in big cities. Many people get married, but more marriages end in divorce,” Statistics Sweden analyst Tomas Johansson told news agency Siren.

The average marriage in Sweden lasts for 25 years, before divorce or death.

The lesson is not as simple as “move to Övertorneå and your marriage will last”. Much of northern and rural Sweden has an ageing population, which contributes to the statistics.

“Relatively few are at the start of their marriages, which means that the number of marriages that end as a result of a death is higher,” explained Johansson.

“For example almost five times more people in Övertorneå became a widow or widower than got divorced in 2015.”

Top-20 list of the municipalities where marriages lasted the longest before ending through divorce or death

Övertorneå: 42 years
Pajala: 40.1 years
Vimmerby: 40 years
Arvidsjaur: 39.5 years
Rättvik: 38.9 years
Grästorp: 38.5 years
Tingsryd: 38 years
Malå: 37.9 years
Munkfors: 37.9 years
Berg: 37 years
Överkalix: 36.5 years
Nordmaling: 36.3 years
Vännäs: 36.3 years
Lekeberg: 35.5 years
Vilhelmina: 35.4 years
Robertsfors: 35.3 years
Vansbro: 35.2 years
Bräcke: 35.1 years
Sorsele: 35.1 years
Örnsköldsvik: 35.1 years