Quetta—Shahbaz Taseer, son of slain former Punjab governor Salman Taseer, was recovered by security and intelligence forces from Balochistan’s Kuchlak area on Tuesday, nearly five years after his abduction in 2011.
“Intelligence agencies have recovered Shahbaz Taseer from an area near Kuchlak, Balochistan,” said a statement released by the Inter-Services Public Relations.
The military shared photos of Shahbaz with a short statement that he is “hale and hearty”.
He has now been shifted from Kuchlak to Quetta and is reportedly in stable condition, a security official told media. Doctors were also called to conduct a medical checkup, he added.
Interior Minister Chuadhry Nisar Ali Khan, who was briefing the Senate on the National Action Plan when the news of Shahbaz’ recovery broke, also confirmed the development.
“I have some good news. I just received information regarding the recovery of Salman Taseer’s son.”
Aitzaz Goraya, head of the Counter-Terrorism Department Balochistan says: “Shahbaz Taseer has been recovered from Kuchlak area of Balochistan.”
“Secret services and CTD personnel conducted a raid at a compound in Kuchlak and recovered a person identified as Shahbaz Taseer,” he said.
“Acting on a tip-off, intelligence forces and police went to a compound in the Kuchlak district some 25 kilometres north of Quetta,” Goraya added.
“We surrounded the compound and 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 Shahbaz, who is in his early thirties, as being in “stable” health.
Kuchlak is a windy town some 25 kilometres north of Quetta. The district also houses a large number of Afghan refugees. Security sources are yet to confirm the arrest of kidnappers during the recovery operation.
Shahbaz was kidnapped from Lahore on Aug 26, 2011, near his company’s head office in Gulberg area. He was driving towards the offices of the First Capital Group off M.M. Alam Road in Gulberg when he was intercepted by the kidnappers.
The abductors who, according to witnesses, used a Prado jeep and a motorcycle, bundled the young Taseer into the four-wheeler and rushed away unimpeded.
No details on the whereabouts of Shahbaz had earlier been made public. However, there were speculations that he was held captive in restive Waziristan by a group that was negotiating the release of Salman Taseer’s killer Mumtaz Qadri and other prisoners.
The militant commanders have privately told in the past Taseer was being kept somewhere in the tribal areas of North and South Waziristan, but he was moved after Operation Zarb-i-Azb was launched in North Waziristan in 2014.
Shahbaz Taseer’s father-in-law Salman Ghani also confirmed his freedom, but did not give any details. The development comes just a week after Salman Taseer’s assassin was executed at Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail.
Meanwhile, former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, after learning about the recovery of Shahbaz Taseer, telephoned Shahbaz’s younger brother and congratulated him and his family. Speaking to media persons, Gilani said his son Ali Haider Gilnai was also kidnapped in 2013 and continues to remain inabduct-
ion. In a statement issued by the PPP media cell, Bilawal Bhutto telephoned Sharyar Taseer and also demanded recovery of Gilani’s son.