LAHORE: Shahbaz Taseer, the son of slain Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer, who was recovered in March after being held captive for over four years, said he was with Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) who tortured him badly during captivity.
Shahbaz revealed that he was with IMU until the group fought with Afghan Taliban on the dispute over allegiance as IMU did not consider ‘Khilafah’ established by Afghan Taliban as legitimate and wanted to ally themselves with self-styled Islamic State (IS) group.
“They abducted me from Lahore and took me to Waziristan’s Meer Ali area and used to shift my location every month from there,” said Shahbaz.
He claimed that when Uzbeks attacked Karachi airport he was there in Meer Ali, but as they knew how Pakistan’s government and army will respond, they shifted him to Datta Khel where he stayed there till February 2015.
“Following the dispute, Afghan Taliban attacked the Uzbeks and eliminated their whole group — their leadership. For three days, only death lived there.
“At that time I got an opportunity to escape and did so, but Afghan Taliban took me for an Uzbek and captured me. I was kept with other prisoners and then they took us to a village where a judge came and awarded sentences from 6 months to 2 years and we were sent to an Afghan jail.
“There i met a fellow Taliban prisoner who helped my release, it took him two to three months but he paved the way for my release” said Taseer.
Shahbaz added that he travelled from Afghanistan to Kuchlak on a motorbike, which took eight days, adding that he could not tell if they did not know who he was, and whether he is moving towards his freedom or this was some trap.
Floggings and torture
Shahbaz Taseer in his interview claimed that his captors severely tortured him and made videos, photos of their brutal act.
“They used to flog me. I was flogged about 500 times in three days, then they cut my back with blades and removed nails from my hands and feet,” Shahbaz revealed.
He added that the abductors used to keep him hungry for days and once they stitched his mouth.
Shahbaz said he was not even provided medicine when, according to him, he was suffering from Malaria.
“They used to torture me for making films and used to tell me their plans in advance. Like they would tell me that they will remove my nails tomorrow. I used to pray the whole night,” said Taseer.
He claimed that he started feeling as if he is in God’s protection and nothing his captors do or say can enter the ‘shell’ God has kept him inside.
‘Bring Nihari from Lahore’
When asked as to what is the first thing he ate after his release, he replied “it was Nihari”.
Shahbaz clarified he did not eat anything at any restaurant in Kuchlak, adding that when he was brought to the army compound and asked as to what he would like to eat, he asked them to bring Nihari.
“I said bring Nihari, if possible, from Lahore. Otherwise I am ready to eat your Balochi Nihari,” said Shahbaz.
Saving the captors’ kids from drone strike
When asked about any ‘memorable incident’ during this more than four year ordeal, Shahbaz narrated an incident about his days in Shawwal where he saved three children of his captors’ family from dying in bombardment.
“One night in Ramazan, they (the captors) had to move with children and women to a safer place as the area was being bombed heavily.
“They asked me to move by my own but if I tried to escape, I will be responsible for what happens to me,” he narrated.
“Their women could not carry all their children and three of them were left behind. So I ran back and lifted two of them, while the third (a minor girl) came running with me.
“I took the kids to a safer place where those women took them from me and thanked me. I could have escaped but human values did not allow me to save my life leaving the three kids to die,” Shahbaz said.