In an apparent change of strategy, Lahore Police has written to car tracking companies for information on vehicles parked near the site of Shahbaz Taseer’s abduction.
As ten days go by without any information on Shahbaz’s whereabouts, a senior police official told The Express Tribune that investigators have exhausted most of their leads and are now exploring a new angle in the case.
“Many people have been questioned in connection with the case but no arrests have yet been made. In a desperate move, police has now written to five companies, demanding the records of all vehicles in and around MM Alam Road [in Gulberg, the upscale neighbourhood where Shahbaz was kidnapped].”
Sources said that police have ruled out the involvement of a black Land Cruiser and a white Toyota Corolla and said that actually two Honda City cars were used in the abduction. The gun, that was believed to have belonged to the kidnappers, was thrown on to the road to mislead the police while buying time to escape, sources said.
Shahbaz was picked up on August 26 and police had believed that his kidnappers had used a black Land Cruiser to take him away. In subsequent investigations, a gun was found from the spot and a traffic warden had claimed that he saw the kidnappers throw the gun out of their car but he eventually withdrew his statement. Last week, the police claimed they had found three mobile phone SIMs and a China-made handset which was used by the kidnappers.
Investigators say the mobile phone, which was found near Shahbaz’s Mercedes, could be instrumental to the probe although it was suspicious that the kidnappers, who seemed well-trained, would leave behind such an important clue.
“The person in whose name the SIM was registered is being questioned. We believe he is involved in the abduction,” an investigator said.
However, he did not rule out the possibility that this could be a case of kidnapping for ransom, which will be confirmed as more time lapses. “In such high-profile cases, ransom demands are made normally after two weeks.”
Meanwhile, Investigations SSP Abdul Razzaque Chema told The Express Tribune that as yet, no more fingerprint results have been retrieved by the National Database and Registration Authority. Last week, investigators said they were questioning a servant of the Taseer family whose fingerprint was found on Shahbaz’s car.
When asked of police claims that results will be retrieved in eight days, he said the process was taking longer as all data records were being checked.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 5th, 2011.