Pakistani forces rescue kidnapped son of famous slain governor
Pakistani counter-terrorism forces have rescued the kidnapped son of a famous slain governor, who was abducted from the eastern city of Lahore five years ago.
Aitzaz Goraya, the head of the regional Counter-Terrorism Department, said Tuesday that Shahbaz Taseer was rescued after security forces launched a targeted operation upon an intelligence tip-off near Quetta, the volatile capital of the southwestern province of Balochistan.
“Acting on a tip-off, intelligence forces and police went to a compound in the Kuchlak district some 25 kilometers north of Quetta”, Goraya said, adding, “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 Salmaan Taseer.”
Meanwhile, Anwarul Haq Kakar, a spokesman for the Balochistan administration, also confirmed the release of the son of assassinated Salmaan Taseer, the former governor of Punjab Province. “I can confirm that Taseer has been safely recovered. He is in safe hands.”
Shahbaz was believed to have been originally kidnapped by members of a notorious outlawed anti-Shia terrorist group known as Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) from Lahore City in August 2011, eight months after his father was assassinated by his guard in the capital, Islamabad. He was later handed to al-Qaeda and then to the Pakistani Taliban.
Sources say Taseer was being kept somewhere in militant-riddled northwestern tribal areas near the Afghan border. He was moved after the Pakistani military launched a high-scale operation in North Waziristan in 2014.
The release comes days after Pakistan hanged Mumtaz Qadri, a former police bodyguard who shot Taseer – the high-profile member of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Punjab Governor – 28 times while guarding him in an Islamabad market in early 2011.
Qadri was executed at Adiala jail in Rawalpindi on February 29, after all his petitions and mercy appeals were rejected.
The guard had told police that he killed Taseer because the provincial governor sought reforms to Pakistan’s blasphemy law.