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Kidnapped son of politician who defended Christians rescued

by Aaron James

Pakistani intelligence forces confirmed on Twitter that they freed Shahbaz Taseer, the son of the late Salman Taseer, from a compound around 16 miles north of the western city of Quetta, in the province of Balochistan.

Speaking to AFP, Aitzaz Goraya, head of the Counter-Terrorism Department of Balochistan province, said: "Intelligence forces and police went to a compound in Kuchlak district some 25km (16 miles) north of Quetta.

"We surrounded the compound and we raided it. We didn't find anyone.

"A single person was there and he told us: 'My name is Shahbaz and my father's name is Salman Taseer'."

It's believed intelligence forces received a tip off before raiding the building, but it is unclear whether a ransom has been paid for Shahbaz's release.


Salman Taseer was murdered by his bodyguard Mumtaz Qadri in 2011 for publicly campaigning against the country's blasphemy laws, which are often used to target Christians.

Months later his son Shahbaz Taseer was kidnapped by terrorists.

Mumtaz Qadri was sentenced to death for the murder and was hung last week, prompting mass protests across Pakistan - with some Muslims in the country viewing him as a hero.

Tens of thousands attended his funeral in the city of Rawalpindi, with mourners showing his coffin with rose petals as it made its way to a mosque.

Revd Simon Bashir Masih is the minister of Bethel Memorial Methodist Church in Quetta - close to where Shahbaz Taseer was found and freed.

He told Premier's News Hour: "All the Christians are happy, but not only Christians are happy - all the nation is happy.

"We think the Pakistani forces have acted positively.

"We can pray for all of Pakistan and Islamic extremists so their minds would be changed and we can live in peace."

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