The kidnapped son of slain Punjab governor Salman Taseer was on Tuesday recovered from Pakistan’s troubled Balochistan province in a multi-agency security operation, nearly five years after he went missing.
Senior police officer Aizaz Ghoraya confirmed that security and intelligence officials recovered Shahbaz from the Kuchlak area on the outskirts of Quetta city.
“He is presently in safe and secure condition and will be taken to Lahore soon,” he added.
Another security official said that Shahbaz was recovered in a multi-agency operation with the help of police and the Frontier Corps in Balochistan.
Shahbaz was kidnapped from the Gulberg area of Lahore from near his office on August 26, 2011 and since than it was feared he was held captive by different militant groups.
He was kidnapped soon after his liberal politician father was assassinated by radical Mumtaz Qadri in January, 2011, due to his stance on the controversial blasphemy law.
Interestingly, the recovery of Shahbaz comes just a week after Qadri was executed in Rawalpindi.
“He has been recovered and he is in good shape. It is the result of a joint intelligence operation with the help of FC. It is an appreciative operation and effort by all intelligence outfits,” said Anwarul Haq Kakar, a Balochistan government spokesman.
Since Shahbaz was kidnapped there has been speculation and reports that initially he was picked up by Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and was then also held captive by Al Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban Pakistan and taken to North Waziristan.
It was also speculated that at one time he was taken to Afghanistan and kept captive there.
The media had reported that Shahbaz was held hostage for such a long time as the militant outfits holding him were negotiating with the government for Qadri’s release from jail.
There were also reports that the kidnappers had demanded Rs 50 crore in ransom from the Taseer family.