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Former PM Yousaf Raza Gilani's son abducted in Multan

09 May, 2013

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MULTAN: Gunmen on Thursday kidnapped a son of former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on the final day of campaigning for landmark elections.

Ali Haider Gilani, 27, was seized in a hail of gunfire on the outskirts of Multan. Officials said his secretary and a bodyguard were killed and four people wounded. "People came on a motorbike. They also had a car with them and they opened fire and abducted Yousaf Raza Gilani's son Ali Haider in a black Honda," police officer Khurram Shakur told reporters. The ex-premier's family is one of the most powerful in Multan and a key clan in the Pakistan People's Party (PPP).

There was no claim of responsibility for the abduction of Haider, a provincial assembly candidate for the secular PPP whose two other brothers are standing for the National Assembly. "We will not allow people to sabotage the election," Yousaf Raza Gilani told reporters after the kidnapping, calling on PPP activists to remain "quiet and peaceful". He said the family had not been provided with security despite being threatened. Police officer Chaudhry Maqbool Jatt told AFP the abduction was under investigation "from different angles, including the possibility of election rivalry" but Taliban involvement could not be ruled out.

Yousaf Raza Gilani alleged that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has abducted his son. "The elections is a national obligation and we will not boycott," he said. "Kidnapping of my son following killing of his secretary in a firing attack is an horrific incident," said a visibly disturbed Gilani while talking to newsmen at the Gilani House. He complained that the family was not provided security. He also stated that they were not being provided a level playing field. The PPP senior vice chairman demanded action against those responsible for the security lapse. He added that there were security threats to their lives.

Shocked over the abduction of his brother, Ali Musa Gilani said that he just wanted him back as tears rolled down his cheeks. "I will make sure there is no election in Multan if he is not recovered," he threatened while sitting in his luxurious vehicle. "If we don't get my brother by this evening I will not let the elections happen in my area," he said. The Taliban have singled out the PPP and its coalition partners in the outgoing government for threats, forcing them to take a low profile.

End.

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