This morning I woke up to news that Shahbaz Taseer, son of Salmaan Taseer, the Punjab Governor who was assassinated back in January, was kidnapped in Lahore. According to the Guardian,
Taseer, 27, was on his way to work at around 10.30am (0630 BST) when he was taken at a busy junction in Gulberg, the most upmarket part of the city. The kidnappers have not been identified but there are fears that jihadists are involved.
Eyewitnesses told media outlets that four men on motorbikes reportedly intercepted Taseer while he was in his car, “and took him to a nearby street before kidnapping him.” Dawn cited Provincial Law Minister Rana Sanaullah, who said he had been provided an official security detail in addition to the private guards he kept, but that he was without security at the time of the incident. As police are reviewing any CCTV footage, the Express Tribune reported, “One of the guards posted with Shahbaz Taseer was taken into custody and had his weapon seized when police questioned him and he revealed another guard was on leave. He had not left the house with Taseer but had later been told to go to the office.”
After reading the news and seeing numerous Facebook updates from friends who know Shahbaz and his family more closely than I do, it would be an understatement to say I feel sick to my stomach. My prayers go out for Shahbaz’s safe return and for the safety of his entire family. The Taseer family, first with the late Salmaan Taseer, and now his children (Shehrbano especially) are symbols and role models of the bravery and courage that this country should display in the face of those who wish to do it harm. I read a brilliant blog post by Acumen Fellow Bryan Ferris yesterday, who, after spending the past 10 months in Lahore working for Acumen investee Ansaar Management Company, wrote,
Pakistan is not a country of terrorists, but rather a country afflicted by terrorists.
Although the perpetrators of today’s kidnapping have not yet been confirmed, we know that whoever committed this act are not Pakistanis. They are not Muslims. They are not human beings. They reek of the rot and decay that plague this society, that people like the Taseers have had the courage to challenge and stand against. I’ll update this space as news comes in and send thoughts and prayers to his family for Shahbaz’s safe return.