ISLAMABAD/KARACHI - An intelligence-based operation (IBO) helped safe recovery of Awais Shah, the kidnapped son of Sindh High Court chief justice, said Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Lt-Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa yesterday.

Barrister Shah was kidnapped from Karachi on June 20.

Addressing a press briefing, the ISPR DG said following intelligence reports regarding possible transportation of Shah, the law enforcement agencies had intensified checking at exit points in Dera Ismail Khan.

In the wee hours of Tuesday, a blue Surf was signalled to stop at a checkpoint on the road leading to Tank in the outskirts of DI Khan. The vehicle driver, instead of halting it, attempted to speed away while crossing the divider of the road.

Seeing the situation a sniper posted at the picket targeted the driver and effectively foiled his bid to flee. Soon the SUV was stopped and two persons disembarked from the vehicle and started firing towards the checkpost.

Simultaneously, they attempted to escape from the scene but were shot and killed in the crossfire.

During search, a burqa-clad person was found sitting in vehicle who was unable to reply the questions of the personnel searching the vehicle. The person, immediately after removing tape from his mouth, uttered his name as Awais Shah, kidnapped son of SHC CJ.

After ascertaining the identity, Awais Shah was taken to a nearby wing of FC where he was released from the shackle and the handcuff.

“Earlier, we had intercepted some technical information about the transportation of abductee to Afghanistan. So the security forces had intensified checking of the area,” he said, adding, “This technical information was with us for the last about three days.”

The Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif, he said, soon after recovery of Awais Shah, rang up SHC CJ and informed him about the safe recovery of his son. He also congratulated the chief justice, he added.

Later in the day, he said, Awais Shah was taken to Karachi in a special aircraft for his meeting with his parents.

He said kidnappers were members of a splinter group of TTP which had links with other terrorist outfits.

However, he said, further details would be divulged only after debriefing of the recovered kidnapee.

He said considerable decrease in the incidents of terrorism spoke volume about the success of operation Zarb-e-Azb. “We had a number of threats from the terrorists during Ramazan and on Eidul Fitr and all those were effectively neutralized jointly by the intelligence and law enforcement agencies.”

He reiterated that IBOs and combing operations across the country would continue till overpowering of the facilitators and abettors of terrorists.

When asked to comment on the trend of targeting the family members of high dignitaries by the terror outfits, he agreed with the questioner saying, it is one of the tactics being used by the terrorists.

Meanwhile, Barrister Owais Shah returned home in Karachi after a month of captivity on Tuesday.

Witnesses said the family waited at the main door of the house for Awais Shah. The father hugged and kissed his son when they met each other after 29 days. A clean-shaven Owais Ali Shah, who appeared to be in good health wearing pant shirt, reached his residence amid strict security. Barrister Shah appeared briefly in front of the media but left without commenting while Justice Sajjad Shah told about the phone call made by Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif early Tuesday morning and said his son had been recovered.

“I asked him to let me speak to him briefly and he was kind enough to grant my request,” he said while briefly talking to the media. The SHC CJ said when his son was kidnapped, the army chief called him and said he would personally monitor the case.

Celebrations broke out outside Shah’s residence in Gizri with some people seen distributing sweets and other eatable stuff outside his residence. Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah also visited CJ’s residence to greet him on the recovery of his son.

From the early morning, his relatives, judges, bar council representatives and government officials started arriving at the CJ’s residence to congratulate him on his son’s safe recovery.