Al-Qaeda demanded release of Zwahiri’s relatives for freedom: Ali Gilani

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LAHORE  – Ex-premier Yousaf Raza Gilani’s son, Ali Haider, in an interview with a British media outlet after being in banned outfit’s captivity for over three years has revealed that Al Qaeda wanted its leader’s relatives free in exchange of his freedom,

Gilani has opened up about his ordeal after more than a month of tight-lipped return since his rescue in Afghanistan.

He has said that Al Qaeda had kidnapped him and the terrorist organization demanded freedom of few women belonging to its leader, Ayman al-Zwahiri’s family and a hefty amount of money.

He was kept in Faisalabad for at least two and a half months after abduction, he revealed adding that in July 2013, he was shifted to Waziristan from Bannu via motorway wearing a burqa.

According to Gilani, there were at least ten pickets in the way but security personnel never checkedidentities of the passengers and used to let the vehicle go after checking identity card of the driver.

He was kept in a cell which was not exposed to sunlight for 14 month, Gilani said adding that he was not tortured ever but always clutched in chains and subjected to mental pressure.

Gilani revealed that he was kept in tribal areas of Pakistan for the longest time and shifted to Afghanistan only this year.

Son of the former prime minister said that he had not received any threat but he was told about being followed by some men.

The first question the six men who had kidnapped him as he exited a rally venue in Multan following his address was, whether he belonged to Sunni sect of Islam or Shia.

Gilani saw his two guards drop dead on his sides before he was hit on his head with a gun butt and bled.

Talking to journalist of the British media outlet, he told he was stripped naked first thing in abductors’ car that was covered with elections posters to make sure he was not wired.

All the six armed men were conversing in Punjabi, Gilani recalled.

“Osama bin Laden was assassinated during your period in government, Waziristan and Swat were subjected to security operations also so you are our enemy,” recollected Gilani.

“They were fans of cricket and I had wished to watch Pakistan vs South Africa match in February 2015 to which they replied we can t show you but we do have a radio,” he said.

Ali Haider Gilani was abducted on May 9, 2013 in Multan after he was finished addressing a local rally as he was running for a provincial assembly seat then.

He was rescued in a joint United States-Afghanistan mission in Afghanistan in May this year roughly two months after former governor of Punjab, late Salman Taseer’s son, Shahbaz Taseer managed to escape Taliban captivity more than four years after his abduction in Lahore by banned Uzbek movement.

Unlike, Taseer who recalled being lacerated and pulled his nails out after given a warning a day before, Gilani says he was not tortured.

2016-06-28

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