Former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s son, Ali Haider Gilani, was recovered on Tuesday in a successful operation in Afghanistan. Foreign Office in a statement said Ali Haider had been recovered “today in a joint operation carried out by the Afghan and US security forces”.
“Afghan National Security Adviser Mohammad Hanif Atmar in a telephone call to prime minister’s senior aide Sartaj Aziz confirmed Gilani was recovered in a joint operation carried out by Afghan and US security forces in Ghazni, Afghanistan.”
Preparations are being made to return him to Pakistan following a medical check-up, the statement added.
The Afghan presidency said the raid had targeted an al-Qaeda cell, and Ali Haider had been sent to the Pakistani embassy in Kabul.
Meanwhile, addressing a rally in Bagh, Kashmir, the former premier said, “I received news of my son’s recovery when I landed in Kashmir.”
Yousaf Raza Gilani’s son kidnapped
“However, instead of going back home to receive my son, I felt it was my duty to come here first and address the rally,” Gilani said.
PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also confirmed the former premier’s son’s recovery.
“PM Yousuf Raza Gilani received a call from ambassador of Afghanistan. His son Haider Gilani has been recovered in a successful operation,” the PPP chairman said on Twitter.
The brother of kidnapped Ali Haider, Abdul Qadir Gilani, told media he was “so happy today that I can’t explain it in words”.
“He is still in Afghanistan and soon he will be among us,” he said of his brother.
Afghan ambassador to Islamabad Dr Okmar Zakhilwal said “He [Gilani] is well and will be repatriated to his family soon.”
Delving into details regarding his telephonic conversation with the former premier, the envoy wrote on Facebook: “He was ecstatically delighted as expected and grateful of President Ashraf Ghani’s personal attention to his son’s safe release.”
The former premier also thanked the Afghan Security Forces for bringing a happy ending to a dreadful family saga for them, Zakhilwal added.
PM congratulates Gilani over recovery
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also congratulated Gilani over the recovery of his son, the PM’s office said.
“I am pleased at the news of the safe recovery of your son Ali Haider Gilani. I pray to Allah Almighty he may return home soon,” Nawaz Sharif said.
“I pay tributes to you and your whole family for spending three years with courage and patience,” the premier added.
In May 2013, armed assailants kidnapped the son of the former prime minister, while also killing two PPP workers in the attack.
Two years on…: Ex-premier Gilani’s abducted son ‘happy and safe’
The incident took place at a party corner meeting in Farrukhabad, near Matital Road in Multan, where Ali Haider was scheduled to address.
At the time of abduction, CPO Multan had said eight armed men riding a black Honda City car and two 125 cc motorcycles, opened fire at a corner meeting in Farrukh Town, an area falling in Ali Haider’s PP-200 constituency.
Witnesses said a bullet also hit Ali Haider and that he was bleeding when the kidnappers dragged him into the car.
Militants release video of Ali Haider Gilani
The attack killed Ali Haider’s secretary, Muhammad Muhiuddin, and his private guard, Amin Ahmed.
Earlier, a top government official had said Gilani was in custody of a militant group not part of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan.
The official had also stated that the group had demanded Rs2 billion in ransom and warned that they would kill him if their demand was not met within a month.
Ali Haider’s recovery comes two months after Salmaan Taseer’s son Shahbaz Taseer was recovered five years after he was abducted.