Kidnapped son of murdered Pakistan governor found alive


Shahbaz Taseer was kidnapped from Lahore in 2011

The kidnapped son of a Pakistani governor assassinated in 2011 has been found alive, just over a week after his father’s killer was hanged.

Shahbaz Taseer was taken by gunmen in Lahore in August 2011, months after his father Salman was killed for opposing Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.

The assassin, his bodyguard Mumtaz Qadri, was hailed as a hero by many.

Counter-terror police said they recovered Shahbaz from a compound north of Quetta, following a tip off.

Aitzaz Goraya, head of the Counter-Terrorism Department of south-western Balochistan province told AFP: “Intelligence forces and police went to a compound in Kuchlak district some 25km north of Quetta.

“We surrounded the compound and we raided it. We didn’t find anyone. A single person was there and he told us my name is Shahbaz and my father’s name is Salman Taseer.”

In this photograph taken on August 19, 2010, then Pakistani Punjab governor Salman Taseer poses in Multan. Pakistan has on February 29, 2016,  Salman Taseer, governor of Pakistan’s Punjab province, was assassinated in 2011

The Balochistan Frontier Corps, the government paramilitary group behind the operation, tweeted to announce that Mr Taseer had been safely recovered.

Few other details were available about the operation or how Mr Taseer came to be at the compound alone.

Some reports suggested a ransom may have been paid to the Pakistani Taliban, which is suspected of involvement in the kidnapping, or that holding Mr Taseer had become too burdensome.

Mr Goraya described Mr Taseer, who is in his early thirties, as being in “feeble” health.

Qadri was hailed as a hero by Islamists after killing Salman Taseer in Islamabad over the governor’s opposition to blasphemy laws.

Thousands of people protested in February following the execution of the former police bodyguard.

Supporters of Islamic political party Jamat-e-Islami shout slogans during a protest after the execution of Mumtaz Qadri, an ex-police guard who had in January 2011 killed a former governor for opposing the country's blasphemy laws, in Peshawar, Pakistan, 29 February 2016.  Supporters of Mumtaz Qadr protested in Peshawar and other Pakistani cities following his execution
Protesters block a road linking to Islamabad, to protest at the execution of former police guard Mumtaz Qadri, after he was hanged in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, 29 February 2016. The protesters blocked the road into Islamabad

Shabaz Taseer’s brother Shehryar said just after Qadri’s hanging that the execution was a victory for Pakistan but not his family.

“The safe return of my brother is the only victory my family wants,” he wrote on Twitter on 29 February.

Former Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, who belonged to the same Pakistan People’s Party as Salman and whose own son was kidnapped by suspected Taliban militants in May 2013, told Geo News on Tuesday: “It is a very big day for Salman’s family.”

He added: “After this release, I am very hopeful that my own son will be freed.”


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