Captors freed Taseer’s son of their own will, says inquiry

Published: March 13, 2016
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Shahbaz Taseer being flown home (Lahore) from Quetta in a special aircraft by int officials. PHOTO: ISPR

Shahbaz Taseer being flown home (Lahore) from Quetta in a special aircraft by int officials. PHOTO: ISPR

ISLAMABAD / QUETTA: 

An inquiry committee has concluded that Shahbaz Taseer was not rescued in a security operation, rather he was freed by his kidnappers of their own will.

It is premature to say ransom was paid to secure the release of slain Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer’s son, says the inquiry committee in a report submitted to Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Saturday. “Facts and evidence show that Shahbaz Taseer has not been recovered through any operation, but his captors set him free on their own.”

Afghan Taliban deny ‘rescuing’ Shahbaz Taseer

The release of the report coincided with the Afghan Taliban’s denial that they played a role in either kidnapping or releasing Shahbaz. The committee recommended issuing an official rebuke to the officers who had informed the minister that Shahbaz was rescued in an operation. “No institution has the right to claim credit for Shahbaz’s recovery.”

Shahbaz Taseer was abducted at gunpoint in Lahore on August 26, 2011, months after his father was assassinated by Mumtaz Qadri for opposing the blasphemy laws. He was found by security and intelligence officials in the Kuchlak area of Quetta on March 8.

Aitzaz Goraya, the head of Balochistan’s Counter-Terrorism Department, claimed Shahbaz was rescued during a raid on a compound in Kuchlak. He claimed police and intelligence officials had raided the compound after receiving a tip-off. The provincial police chief also told the interior minister that Shahbaz was rescued in a police raid.

A section of Pakistani media, however, reported that Shahbaz was recovered by the Taliban from Afghanistan’s Zabul province, where he was reportedly being held by Uzbek insurgents.

Fear can hold you prisoner, hope can set you free: Shahbaz Taseer

Taking notice of the conflicting accounts, Nisar constituted a high-level committee, comprising an additional interior secretary and the director general of the National Crisis Management Cell, to ascertain the facts surrounding Shahbaz’s recovery.

Kakar insists Shahbaz was ‘recovered’

The Balochistan government’s spokesperson, Anwarul Haq Kakar insisted Shahbaz was ‘recovered’, saying the interior minister was trying to create discord. Kakar had claimed that Shahbaz was recovered in a joint raid by paramilitary troops and intelligence sleuths. He had heaped praise on the security forces for it.

“‘Recovered’ is the most appropriate word to describe the episode,” Kakar said, adding that it wasn’t a sin to praise the security forces for ‘this achievement’. He said Shahbaz had been in the captivity of Uzbek terrorists for four and half years before the Afghan Taliban sent him to Pakistan with Rs15,000.

Mystery continues to surround Shahbaz Taseer’s release

Taliban deny role in Shahbaz’s recovery

The Afghan Taliban, however, denied they played a role in the rescue and recovery of Shahbaz Taseer. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told The Express Tribune that the group was ‘unaware of the incident’. “Our Mujahideen had never been involved in it. We neither held him [Shahbaz], nor released him,” he said.

When asked, Mujahid termed ‘baseless’ reports that the Taliban had released a statement confirming the rumours of playing role in Shahbaz’s rescue. “We have not issued any statement as the issue does not relate to us,” he said in replies sent through WhatsApp.

 

Published in The Express Tribune, March 13th, 2016.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • Shah
    Mar 13, 2016 - 2:20PM

    Man seriously what have become of us ? We have become Khaala Khairans and Bee Jamalo’s. Why do we care so much about who paid who and who freed who ?? The man is back that’s all we should care about.Recommend

  • R.A
    Mar 13, 2016 - 3:46PM

    Who cares how he was released
    Good news is that he is safe and back home
    Recommend

  • Dr.M.M. Khan
    Mar 13, 2016 - 3:59PM

    For a man who has been a captive over four years the gentleman looks quite fit and smiling. Is it a case of “Stockhlm Syndrome”?Recommend

  • NHA
    Mar 13, 2016 - 9:34PM

    He should focus on family and post-captivity life. PPP will try to politicise his kidnapping and draw a mileage out of it. This party has a history of playing victimhood card while they fail to protect their leaders from harm. Recommend

  • I. Khan (CAN)
    Mar 13, 2016 - 10:25PM

    Dr.M.M. Khan, what do you expect Shahbaz Taseer to do ‘cry’ in front of his family and friends or go into hiding. No doubts he went through a lot but he is a strong man and he will recover soon, his family and good friends will be a great help for him , not some psyche meds.Recommend

  • Qasim Khan
    Mar 13, 2016 - 11:39PM

    Well the silver lining is that Shahbaz Taseer managed to recover 15000 from the Taliban terrorists. He should use this money to buy a gun.Recommend

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