ISLAMABAD - Pakistan People’s Party chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is keen to see Shahbaz Taseer in a lead role in Punjab as part of the much awaited party reshuffle, close aides said yesterday.

Bilawal met Shahbaz Taseer , the son of slain governor Punjab Salman Taseer, in Lahore to congratulate him on his release after five years of abduction. Sources said Bilawal also discussed politics with the Taseer family during the meeting.

Shahbaz Taseer was kidnapped from his office on August 23, 2011 by militants who demanded ransom for his release. He was recovered after an operation led by Counter Terrorism Department together with intelligence personnel in Kuchlak, Balochistan. He was brought to Lahore from Quetta this week via a special aircraft.

Taseer, a graduate of the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, is not the only high-profile member of Pakistan’s elite to have been kidnapped.

Former Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s son Ali Haider Gilani is still missing after being abducted from an election rally during the 2013 general election in the city of Multan.

Taseer’s release came just over a week after his father’s killer, Mumtaz Qadri, was executed. Bilawal is expected to be in Islamabad today where he will have a series of meetings with ambassadors of various countries and party leaders. He is scheduled to stay in the capital city for five days.

A senior PPP leader told The Nation, Bilawal wanted Taseer to play an active role in the party and possibly lead it in the Punjab province.

“Nothing is final yet but Shahbaz Taseer may get a lead role in Punjab. Politics has been discussed in Bilawal’s meeting with Taseer,” he said.

The PPP leader said Bilawal wanted to inject youth in the party and hoped to improve the party’s standing in the Punjab province.

He said the Taseer family had been associated with the PPP for long and the party recognised the services of Salman Taseer.

“Taseer family is not reluctant to be active in politics and hopefully Bilawal will get a young man in Punjab who can help in party’s revival,” he added.

The PPP leader said Taseer was courageous and was full of energy. “The five years in captivity have not discouraged him. He wants to lead an active life,” he maintained.

Senior PPP leader Faisal Karim Kundi told The Nation, Bilawal had met Taseer to congratulate him on his release. “Taseer family has been associated with the PPP and had made sacrifices. If Shahbaz Taseer is introduced in the leadership role at any level, the party people will welcome it,” he added.

Kundi said Salman Taseer was a known PPP leader and if Bilawal decides to give some assignment to his son, Shahbaz Taseer , it could benefit the party.

Reports said Bilawal was hoping to target the alleged ‘pre-polls rigging’ by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his team in AJK.

AJK Election Commission has announced the general elections would be held on June 26.

The PPP’s reorganisation is long awaited and Bilawal has been holding meetings with his party leaders to finalise a new team. He expects to bring youth to the forefront.

Although the reshuffle is meant for the whole country, the main focus is on Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the AJK. Roping in Shahbaz Taseer will also attract sympathy votes as he had been in captivity for several years.