As the congratulations come pouring in to the Taseer family for the safe return of son Shahbaz Taseer after five long years in captivity, issuing a condemnation for what happened takes precedence over everything else. Kidnapping has been used as a tool by terrorists for far too long in Pakistan. People such as notable ambassador, Tariq Aziz and Professor Ajmal Khan are high profile cases in the past. Late Punjab Governor Salman Taseer’s son Shahbaz Taseer, was abducted from his office in Lahore’s Gulberg locality on August 26, 2011, seven months after his father Salman Taseer was killed by his own bodyguard Mumtaz Qadri in Islamabad on January 4, 2011. Shahbaz Taseer was recovered a week after Qadri was hanged from Kuchlak, a suburb of Quetta, which connects Quetta and Balochistan’s Pishin district up till the Afghan border at Chaman.

The details of his recovery remain unclear as ambiguity surrounds the reports of his release. Aitzaz Goraya, head of the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) Balochistan told newspapers that he was Mr Taseer was recovered in a raid conducted by secret services and CTD personnel, at a compound. Other reports state that he walked in to a restaurant in Kulchak and called his family from a borrowed cellphone.

Soon enough personnel from the Frontier Corps came and picked him up. Questions most certainly arise about the conditions of his release; were his captors and his whereabouts known to security agencies? What were the conditions of his freedom? While his safe return is probably more than enough for his family, will the perpetrators of this crime be punished for keeping him away from his loved ones for such a long time?

High-profile kidnappings have been an effective campaign of the Pakistani Taliban and other terrorists to amass wealth to arm insurgents with millions of dollars as well as strong-arm people with resources for protection. Wealthy industrialists, academics, Western aid workers and relatives of military officers have been targets in a spree that has lasted for the past 6 years; no one with the slightest influence has been spared. Operation Zarb-e-Azb and the Rangers operation in Karachi has witnessed a reduction of kidnapping cases over the last year, but security agencies have a long way to go before they can assure the public that these terrorist networks have been successfully dismantled and no one will have to wonder if their loved one is still alive. We hope for the safe return of all other hostages being held in captivity, and appreciate the efforts of security personnel who work hard to make Pakistan a safer place.