Shahbaz Taseer, the son of slain Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer, while giving an interview to media on Wednesday, said no security or intelligence agency came to his rescue during captivity, and “its Allah’s blessing” that he managed to escape.
Months after the assassination of his flamboyant father over siding with a blasphemy convict, Shahbaz Taseer was abducted from Lahore on Aug 25, 2011 by the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) when he was on his way to his office. He was recovered in March this year after being held captive for almost five years.
Talking about the role of Pakistan People’s Party during his captivity, Shahbaz said: “In order to correct the record I must mention that after the assassination of my father, Bilawal was the only person who talked to me.”
Every other senior politician refused contact with the Taseer family, saying it was a controversial issue, he added.
“I am only thankful to Allah for my freedom, as no one else played any part in my release, neither the security agencies nor the government authorities,” he said.
“All the security agencies did was to bring me back from that hotel in Kachlak, where I had reached after running away from my captors.”
When asked whether any deal was struck with the captors to ensure his release, Shahbaz categorically negated the notion saying “the only deal was that he managed to escape from captivity”.
He was of the view that freedom is a wonderful gift of life which we generally take for granted, and that he was glad to have it back.
“My story is a story of survival, it’s a story of hope. Being hopeless was not an option for me,” he said.
When asked whether he plans to publish his ordeal, Shahbaz said: “Writing a book is a difficult task, it will probably take me an year to write down my ordeal. It’s a challenge for me.”
“I feel lucky that my grandfather was a poet and father an author.”
Recalling his experience in captivity, Shahbaz said: “When I look back, there is nothing painful. I see it as an experience quite healing.”
“For four years I never spoke to any one, I had very little exposure to humans.”
“I also learnt Pushto during captivity, it’s a difficult language and it took me nearly three years to learn basic sentences in order to communicate with my captors — as they only spoke Pashto and Uzbek,” he said.
“Initially they were very frustrated that I could not understand their language. That was a hard time for me, I tried a lot to talk to my captors but they started abusing and torturing me.”
Shahbaz said it was difficult for him to make a human connection with the persons who used to routinely torture him.
When asked to share any particular instance he plans to write in his upcoming book, Shahbaz recalled: “Once there was a drone strike on the hideout where militants had kept me, I got injured in it too. My captor had to other place to hide me, so he took me to his home. His one-and-half year old son came to the room in which I was and started playing with his toys.”
That brought smile to my face. At that point I realised that I had not smiled for more than two years. These are the instances I plan to write in my book,” he said.