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Former Pak PM Gilani speaks to son abducted 2 years ago

May 24, 2015 17:27 IST

Pakistan's former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Sunday said he had spoken to his son Ali Haider for the first time since he was kidnapped by a Taliban group in 2013 and is now being held in Afghanistan.

"Today I received a telephone call from an unknown number. It was from my abducted son Haider. He told me that he was well and inquired about the other family members," Gilani told reporters.

"We spoke about eight minutes," he said, expressing hope for safe recovery of his son.

Ali Haider was kidnapped by gunmen in Multan, Gilani's hometown, two days before the May 11, 2013 general election.

Earlier, Gilani said that the kidnappers of his son had never demanded ransom.

"They are interested only in securing release of high profile prisoners. They want release of certain prisoners from Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi and according to my information a few of them have been recently freed by the government. But it has failed to secure the release of my son, or of Shahbaz Taseer, the son of slain Punjab governor Salman Taseer, and other innocent captives in return," Gilani said.

The PML-N government had also received a video showing Haider in chains and saying that he was in captivity of a group which was not under the control of the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan.

Haider said in the video that the kidnappers were initially demanding Rs 2 billion for his release but have now reduced the ransom amount to Rs 500 million.

He also said that he will be killed if the payment is not made in a month and deplores that his family is not doing enough for his release.

"The kidnappers are not interested in money. They want the release of their fellows imprisoned in the Pakistani jail," Gilani clarified.

Shahbaz Taseer who was kidnapped in 2011 from Lahore, is also in the captivity of a Taliban group in Afghanistan.

His kidnappers reportedly demanded that his family pardon Mumtaz Qadri, the killer of his father, for his release.

Qadri, a police commando, who was detailed for security of Salman Taseer, had shot him dead in Islamabad in January, 2011 for terming the country's controversial blasphemy law as "black" and for supporting the release of Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman accused of blasphemy. A court had sentenced Qadri to death.

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