LAHORE - The Punjab police are yet to trace the whereabouts of the abducted son of former Prime Minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani, as the investigators are still groping in the dark with no clue and no lead, police sources revealed on Tuesday.
A top police officer believes that Ali Haider Gilani was being kept at some sanctuary in the biggest Punjab province as the police are working in different directions to unearth the kidnappers.
Gunmen attacked an election rally in the suburb of Multan city on Thursday and abducted the son of a former prime minister. Ali Haider Gilani's private secretary and one of his security guards were shot dead in the brazen attack.
“The police are working on various lines. The investigators are yet to establish the motives behind the high-profile abduction,” a senior police officer told this reporter on Tuesday night, requesting anonymity. The officer, also part of the investigation team probing into the abductions, further said the police and intelligence operatives could not get any solid clue about the whereabouts of the victim. But we are confident that Gilani has not been shifted out of the Punjab province, he added.
Police officials said that there had been some abduction cases reported in the Sindh province in the recent past in which the professional gangs kidnapped the family members of the rich people to extort maximum ransom. In this particular case, the police are assessing whether any gang committed the crime for huge ransom.
Well-informed sources said that a Joint Investigation Team (JIT), comprising officers from the police, special branch, and intelligence agencies, has launched the probe to determine whether any militant group kidnapped the younger Gilani or it was the handiwork of some professional criminals to extort huge ransom from the well-off family. No group has claimed the responsibility yet.
The police and security agencies were alerted across the province soon after the ex-PM’s son was snatched away from Multan. The law enforcing agencies had also sealed off the provincial borders and intensified checking on the border posts but to no avail. However, intelligence sources said that the chances are slim that the victim is still in the captivity of the militants somewhere in the Punjab province.
Punjab Caretaker Chief Minister Najam Sethi met Yousuf Raza Gilani at the Gilani House in Multan on Monday and assured the former prime minister that the provincial government was taking every possible step for the recovery of Syed Ali Haider Gilani.
The CM met the father of the victim just days after the ex-PM had appealed to the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) to help ensure safe recovery of his son. Later, Najam Sethi also disclosed to the media that according to his information Ali Haider was safe.
In 2011, a militant faction linked to the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) had been blamed for a few high-profile abductions including the kidnapping of Shahbaz Taseer, the son of slain Governor Punjab Salman Taseer, and US development expert Warren Weinstein. The authorities had established later that Shahbaz Taseer and Dr Warren Weinstein were in the custody of a militant faction associated with the banned terrorist outfit, the TTP.
Most likely, an intelligence official said, Ali Haider Gilani had been picked up by the Taliban through their affiliates such as Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, which abducted Shahbaz Taseer and Dr Warren in 2011 from Lahore. Later, the victims had been shifted to insurgency-hit northwest region bordering war-torn Afghanistan.
The same group had abducted Amir Aftab Malik, the son-in-law of the former Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) General Tariq Majid from Lahore.
Previously in high-profile abductions, Taliban militants had either received huge ransom or preferred swap with their men in the custody of Pakistani forces or both for the safe release of important personalities. Taliban have not asserted responsibility for these kidnapping so far but the sources believed it could be their planned tactic to avoid making claim to gain maximum time.