Kidnapped son of slain governor found alive in Pakistan

Officials say Shahbaz Taseer, who was seized from Lahore in 2011, found in "feeble" health in a compound in Balochistan.

    File photo: Shabaz Taseer was kidnapped in 2011 after his father Salman - who opposed Pakistan's blasphemy law - was killed [Reuters]
    File photo: Shabaz Taseer was kidnapped in 2011 after his father Salman - who opposed Pakistan's blasphemy law - was killed [Reuters]

    Pakistani officials say the kidnapped son of a top provincial official killed by his bodyguard has been found alive, just over a week after his father's killer was hanged.

    Shahbaz Taseer had been kidnapped by armed men, reportedly the Taliban, from the city of Lahore in August 2011, a  few months after his father Salman Taseer, the governor of Punjab, was killed for opposing Pakistan's controversial blasphemy laws.

    Aitzaz Goraya, the head of the Counterterrorism Department of Balochistan province, told AFP news agency: "Yes, we have recovered him.

    "Acting on a tip-off, intelligence forces and police went to a compound in the 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 Salmaan Taseer."

    Goraya described Taseer, who is in his early 30s, as being in "feeble" health.

    Separately, Inspector-General Ahsan Mehboob of Balochistan Police told Reuters: "Shahbaz was recovered safe and sound." 

    Intelligence agents and counterterrorism officers found Taseer after receiving information he was at a hotel in Kuchlak, Mehboob said, adding that no arrests were made in the raid.

    Last week Pakistan  hanged Mumtaz Qadri, the police bodyguard who shot Salman Taseer 28 times in Islamabad in January 2011.

    Analysts described the execution as a crucial moment in Pakistan's long fight against armed groups, saying it demonstrated the government's resolve to uphold the rule of law rather than allow religious intolerance to flourish.

    But Qadri's funeral brought up to 100,000 people on to the streets who lauded him as a hero, highlighting the country's deep religious divide.

     

    SOURCE: Agencies


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