Two years on...: Ex-premier Gilani’s abducted son ‘happy and safe’

Ali Haider Gilani talks to his father by phone from undisclosed location


Afp/Owais Qarni May 25, 2015
Ali Haider Gilani talks to his father by phone from undisclosed location.

MULTAN: The kidnapped son of former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani spoke to his father by the telephone on Sunday after two years in captivity and told him he was well. The call put an end to a guessing game about the fate of Ali Haider Gilani.

It was the first conversation Gilani had with Ali Haider Gilani, in his late 20s, since he was abducted by suspected militants from the outskirts of Multan on May 9, 2013, two days before the parliamentary election in which he was campaigning. His secretary and a guard were killed and four people wounded.



“My son told me that he is happy and safe at an unknown place,” the elder Gilani told the media after the phone call. “He enquired about the health of his mother and other family members. He declined to disclose more and said that Almighty Allah will surely help us. He said he is safe and sound and we should not be worried about him.”

The elder Gilani was attending the Chehlum of an old PPP member, Fatah Qadri, in the Jalalpur Pirwala town of Multan. Haider Gilani’s kidnappers were apparently aware of the former premier’s location: PPP South Punjab General Secretary Javed Siddiqui, who was accompanying Gilani, received a text message from an Afghanistan number. The sender asked the former premier to call the number if he wanted to talk to his son.

Gilani conferred with PTI Vice-Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who was also present at the ceremony, following which they moved into a separate room to call the number.

Kidnappers’ demand

Addressing a news conference later in the evening, Gilani shared details of the family’s negotiations with the kidnappers during the past two years.

“Kidnapper Abu Yazid of al Qaeda had given us a video of my son and also a clip of his audio conversation. Then they demanded freeing the families of al Qaeda members,” the former premier told the media. “I told them that I cannot meet this demand, but as far as money is concerned, I can arrange that.”

After the recent development, Gilani is due to meet army chief Gen Raheel Sharif on Monday (today). “I want the Taliban to make a rational demand that I could fulfil,” he said. “I only want my son back.”

Published in The Express Tribune, May 25th, 2015. 

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