LAHORE - Shahbaz Taseer, son of slain Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer, reached home yesterday afternoon and met his family after a four years six months and 12 days.

His mother Aamina Taseer, wife Maheen Taseer and brother Shaheryar Taseer along with other family members received him at Lahore airport at 12:45pm.

Wearing a blackish polo shirt and blue jeans, and sporting a freshly-trimmed beard, he was seen hugging his dear ones with a smiling face in some pictures tweeted by Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) shortly after the family reunion at the airport.

In some earlier pictures released by the ISPR after his recovery, he was wearing traditional Pashtoon dress, a loose shalwar qameez and waistcoat. In a tweet, Pakistani military spokesman Asim Bajwa described Shahbaz Taseer's condition as "hale and hearty".

Shahbaz was flown to Lahore from Samungli Airbase in Quetta in a special aircraft arranged by security agencies. Taseer’s delighted family moved from airport to their residence, 118-Cavalry Ground, under tight security.

The vehicle swiftly entered the house without showing any glimpse of Shahbaz to dozens of cameramen waiting there for hours, as the worldwide media is giving coverage to his recovery from the long tiring abduction. He did not make any appearance before the media at the airport too.

Local TV channels aired the news throughout the day about expected press talk by Taseer’s family but they could not access any of his family members. The family later through a message informed the media that they would not talk to the press on Wednesday or Thursday, and formally invite media for talk later, if needed.

Shahbaz’ wife Maheen Taseer thanked well-wishers and friends of Taseer family through a tweet after reunion. She thanked Almighty Allah for the end of their long, arduous trail, quoting a verse of Holy Quran in her message.

“Heartfelt gratitude for all your prayers for Shahbaz. Allah is kind & merciful. “Allah will grant after hardship, ease,” tweeted Maheen on Wednesday afternoon.

Some locals told this scribe that Shahbaz was served traditional food, like chicken biryani, chicken qorma and some fast food on reaching home. He was presented chocolate coffee and sweets as well, according to them.

Relatives, family friends and some politicians visited Taseer’s home to greet the family. Bouquet and sweets were presented by them to Shahbaz. Dance on drumbeat and distribution of sweets outside their home continued throughout the day. Political parties also congratulated the family on Shahbaz’ return.

He had been abducted by gunmen from Lahore in August 26, 2011, seven months 22 days after his father Salmaan Taseer was killed for opposing the country’s blasphemy laws. Security agencies recovered him Tuesday evening from a hotel on the outskirts of Kuchlak town (Balochistan), eight days after his father’s killer Mumtaz Qadri was hanged.

Agencies add: "We're very, very, very happy and this is the start of a new life for us," his sister Sanam Taseer told AFP over the phone. "It's a beautiful day."

"We're so happy," added his aunt Ayesha Tammy Haq.

"So used to condemning & condoling... not exactly sure how to react to good news... Allahu Akbar. God is Great. Welcome home @ShahbazTaseer," tweeted Bilawal Bhutto, son of assassinated premier Benazir Bhutto.

The abduction and even recovery of Shahzaz remains shrouded in mystery and no one from the government, the intelligence agencies or his family has so far spoken about it.

On Tuesday authorities announced that, acting on a tip-off, they raided a compound in the town of Kuchlak, 25km north of Quetta, where they found Shahbaz alone. It was not immediately clear when the raid took place.

The army later said Shahbaz had been rescued by intelligence agents in a hotel in Kuchlak. None of his captors was arrested and no other details of the operation were released.

However the owner of a roadside restaurant in Kuchlak told reporters that Taseer was recovered after he came to his restaurant on foot Tuesday evening. There he ordered food then made a phone call, and personnel from paramilitary group the Frontier Corps came and picked him up.

During his custody, Taseer was moved between locations in the tribal areas and militant outfits, according to multiple rebel commanders.

A Taliban commander in the country's northwest told AFP late Tuesday that Taseer was initially abducted by the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi sectarian group that is mainly based out of Punjab, which handed him over to the Pakistani Taliban.

"Militants from Lashkar-e-Jhangvi picked him up and then he was handed over to TTP," the commander said.

Taseer spent most of his time with TTP fighters who kept him in separate locations in North and South Waziristan, and in areas close to the Afghan border, he added.

Two other militant commanders said he was later handed over to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan which maintains close ties to al-Qaeda.

The militant sources said Taseer was treated well and played sports with his captors. "Taseer liked to play cricket and so militants had provided him a bat and ball which he was playing with militants," one commander told AFP.


APP adds: Minister for Interior Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Wednesday formed a Committee to probe the wrong information given by the Inspector General of Police Balochistan about recovery of Shahbaz Taseer.

Taking strong note of the misleading information, he said that there was a need to develop habit of telling truth to the nation.

Nisar, in a statement in Islamabad, said it needed interrogation that why IGP Balochistan said that Shahbaz Taseer was recovered in an operation, whereas the factual position was contrary to it.

The Committee, led by Secretary Interior, would complete and submit its report within two days to the Minister.

Among others, the Additional Secretary Interior and Director General National Crisis Management Cell are members of the Interrogation Committee.