Brazen abduction: As clock ticks, search for Taseer narrows to urban areas

8 police teams investigating case from various angles; top officials insist kidnapping is case of personal rivalry.

Rameez Khan/abdul Manan August 28, 2011


As investigators collect and comb through evidence for leads, senior security officials say they have narrowed the scope of the investigation in the Shahbaz Taseer abduction case to urban areas of Punjab.

Law enforcement officials informed Punjab Governor Latif Khosa that they have failed to find any clue of involvement of terrorists from tribal areas, sources in the Governor House said.

Meanwhile, the Punjab police chief informed the governor that Taseer appears to have been abducted over personal rivalry, sources added, despite the insistence by Taseer’s family to the contrary.

Law enforcement agencies are therefore focusing on urban areas of the Punjab in general, and provincial capital Lahore in particular, for Taseer’s recovery, the governor was informed.

Punjab Home Secretary and the Inspector General of Police called on Governor Khosa on Saturday and briefed him on the progress on Taseer’s recovery.

Son of former slain governor Punjab Salmaan Taseer and his widow Aamna, Shahbaz was abducted early Friday morning en route to his office in Gulberg, from his residence in Cavalry Ground.

Taseer’s mobile phones and laptop, left behind in the abandoned car after his abduction, have been sent to the forensics department while finger prints collected from the car have been sent to National Database Registration Authority (NADRA), investigators said.

Eight teams investigate

The police have formed eight teams to investigate Taseer’s abduction case, said Senior Superintendent Police (SSP) Investigation Abdul Razzaque Cheema.The abductors have not contacted Taseer’s family and no arrests have been made yet, he said.

The Kalashnikov, thrown out of the abductors’ black Prado while they escaped, is being checked for finger prints and ownership, he added.

SSP Operation Shuakat Abass said that since Taseer’s family is engaged in multiple businesses, the police cannot single out one dispute and is therefore investigating the case from multiple angles.

Deputy inspector-general (DIG) operations Ghulam Mehmood Dogar also confirmed that the police have leads in the case but refused to disclose any.

Security on the city’s entry and exit points has been tightened and cars, especially big ones, were being thoroughly checked, he added.

Meanwhile, a team has been particularly assigned to investigate whether any sectarian or religiously-motivated group, related to slain governor’ self-confessed killer Mumtaz Qadri, is involved in the abduction, sources added.

Off the record

Taseer had retuned to Pakistan from Dubai a day earlier and the investigators are probing how the information of his arrival was leaked, sources said while speaking to The Express Tribune.

Disposing the gun on the street might have been an attempt to mislead the police, they added, since there was no need to do so.

A search operation was conducted across the city including Defence, Model Town and Gulberg, and while few people were taken into custody, no arrests have been made yet, sources added.

The two people taken into custody were also released after questioning, sources said, adding that seven employees from Taseer’s company were being questioned as well.

PPP requisitions assembly session

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has submitted a call attention notice in Punjab Assembly (PA) over Taseer’s abduction. The PPP has submitted a call attention notice in the assembly secretariat , PPP deputy parliamentary leader in PA Shaukat Mehmood Basra told The Express Tribune.

According to the law, the chief minister is bound to reply to questions raised in the call attention notices, he said, adding that he would submit a requisition a PA session to discuss the abduction.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 28th, 2011.