LAHORE: Shahbaz Taseer, son of late Governor Punjab Salmaan Taseer, was abducted from the Gulberg area of Lahore on Friday.
The Express Tribune’s Asad Kharal reports Taseer had left his house from Cavalry Ground in his silver Mercedes Kompressor (LZT-1) for his office around 10:15am. Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Lahore said his car was intercepted by a black SUV and motorbike around 600 yards from the office and up to three men dragged Taseer out of the car and took him away.
Family sources said they had been informed of the kidnapping when a company driver passing by the area saw Taseer’s car abandoned in the street.
The kidnappers headed to Firdous Market via Cavalry Flyover, which leads straight to DHA Lahore and the cantonment areas. A traffic warden in the area reported a black SUV, white corolla and a motorbike sped through the area and made a sharp turn, which resulted in a black Kalashnikov dropping out of one of the cars.
“Shabhaz was out with a friend when four unidentified people kidnapped him,” his brother Sheryar Taseer told Reuters.
“Our family has been receiving threats from the Taliban and extremist groups,” he said, adding they could be behind the abduction.
Official sources said Shahbaz Taseer had some property disputes and had also been receiving threats recently.
No one has claimed responsibility.
Taseer was travelling without any security today and is normally reported to have travelled in a silver Prado with Elite force and police guards.
Police is also retrieving CCTV footage from the area to help with investigations.
One of the guards posted with Shahbaz Taseer was taken into custody and had his weapon seized when police questioned him and he revealed another guard was on leave. He had not left the house with Taseer but had later been told to go to the office.
Two police personnal, Liaquat and Sharafat, were posted with Taseer.
Police officials said the Taseer family had a total of 12 police and five Rangers personnel posted with them.
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has taken notice of the incident and has issued directives to Inspector General of Police (IG) Punjab and Chief Secretary Punjab to take immediate action.
A Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) team, on the directives of Director Punjab and Interior Minister Rehman Malik, has started investigations.
A National Response Center for Cyber Crimes (NR3C) team visited the office, home and checked Shahbaz Taseer’s car to collect forensic evidence. The team consisted of Deputy Director NR3C Sajjid Akram Chaudhry, SHO NR3C Ahmer Naeem, forensic expert Abdul Ghaffar and hardware engineer Muhammad Usman.
Shahbaz Taseer, who is the eldest son of former governor Salmaan Taseer, is a director in several companies his father founded, including Pace Pakistan Ltd., First Capital Equities Ltd., Media Times Ltd. and First Capital Securities Corp. Ltd.
This is the second high profile kidnapping in Lahore during the last two weeks. Earlier on August 13, armed men had abducted US aid expert Warren Weinstein from his residence in the city.
Late governor of Punjab, Salmaan Taseer was shot dead on January 4 this year by his security guard.
A vocal critic of the blasphemy law, Salmaan Taseer showed his overwhelming support for Aasia Bibi, the woman charged with making disrespectful remarks against the Holy Prophet (pbuh), and condemned the controversial law on several occasions.
Last week, the cleric who led the funeral prayers for Salmaan Taseer was forced to flee the country following threats.
According to a report by the Press Trust of India, Muhammad Afzal Chishti, the secretary general of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Ulema wing, left the country after having received numerous threats against his life.