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Gunmen abduct Ali Haider Gilani after he addresses a corner meeting; Yusuf Raza Gilani blames PML-N for incident; urges people to stay calm and vote; Musa Gilani says no polls in Multan if brother not recovered; Taliban deny responsibility
 
 
News Desk
Friday, May 10, 2013
From Print Edition
 
 

 

MULTAN: Ali Haider Gilani, the son of former prime minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, was kidnapped from a corner meeting here on Thursday. His secretary and guard were shot dead by unknown gunmen in the attack.

 

The younger Gilani is contesting elections from PP-200 and was busy on the last day of his election campaign. He was kidnapped after he addressed a corner meeting in Farrukh Town in the limits of Seetal Marri Police Station. The attackers pushed him into a waiting car without a registration number and sped away, said an eyewitness. Before getting hold of Ali Haider, they shot dead Gilani’s secretary Mohyuddin Bhutta and his gunman.

 

Chief Police Officer (CPO), Multan, Ghulam Mehmood Dogar, told reporters that a black car and a motorcycleincident. Dogar said that entry and exit points of the city and adjoining districts have been sealed to arrest the culprits.

 

Another eyewitness said that Haider Gilani was having no police security cover. The incident took place at Farrukh Town in the limits of Seetal Marri Police Station. The number of kidnappers, according to the police, was about four to six. They said a pedestrian was also wounded in the gunfire and was shifted to Nishtar Hospital.

 

Nishter Hospital Director Emergency Dr Azhar said Gilani’s security guard, Muhammad Ameen, was shifted to hospital where he succumbed to the injuries.An eyewitness said his secretary Mohiuddin Bhutta was killed on the spot.

 

A resident of Multan who attended the rally told a local TV station that the attackers first pulled up in a car and motorcycle outside the venue where the younger Gilani was meeting with a few hundred supporters.

 

When he came out of the building, two gunmen opened fire, killing his secretary instantly. “One of the gunmen grabbed Haider who had blood splashed on his trousers,” said Shehryar Ali in comments aired by Geo News.

 

Speaking to reporters, former Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani appeared shaken but composed. He said two of his son’s guards were killed in the attack, but he did not know whether his son was wounded.

 

“His two guards were shielding him, and they died,” said the former premier told media. “I urge all of my party supporters to remain peaceful and participate in the vote,” he said.It was not immediately known who abducted Gilani or why.

 

He condemned the killing of a PPP worker and kidnapping of his son. “The election is a national obligation and we will not boycott,” he said. “Kidnapping of my son, a PPP’s candidate for PP-200, following killing of his secretary in a firing attack, is a horrific incident,” he said.

 

He complained that they were not provided security as per rules. He also stated that they were not being provided level playing field but such dastardly acts could not discourage them.

 

The PPP senior vice chairman demanded an action against those responsible for security lapse. He added that there were security threats to their lives.

 

Gilani said he was not sure if any clue had been found but added that he was in contact with the law enforcement agencies in this connection. “We will follow the course of law,” he added.In a talk with BBC, Gilani alleged that his rival political party PML-N has abducted his son.

 

There was no respond from PML-N on the allegations till filing of this report.Just after the abduction of Haider, PPP workers started protest in Multan districtThe former PM said he was phoned by the caretaker prime minister, MQM Chief Altaf Hussain, Tahirul Qadri, Skindar Bosan and they unanimously condemned the tragic incident.

 

He said there was a time when election campaign continued without any violence or kidnappings.Ali Musa Gilani, brother of kidnapped Ali Haider Gilani, was deeply shaken by the incident, tears rolling down his cheeks. He warned that he won’t allow elections to take place in Multan if his brother was not recovered latest by tonight.

 

He said security guards were withdrawn from the PPP candidates in the name of election code of conduct.Meanwhile, expressing grave concern and condemning the kidnapping of Ali Haider Gilani, President Asif Ali Zardari said such acts will not deter from ensuring success of on going democratic transition.

 

He said he had also called Yusuf Raza Gilani a short while ago. His spokesperson Senator Farhatullah Babar said that the president also called upon the relevant government agencies to get into action to recover the kidnapped Gilani safely and bring the culprits to book.

 

The president said that the progressive democratic parties had already expressed their serious apprehensions about the militants’ threats and had called upon the ECP and the government to take appropriate measures so that the elections were not hijacked by the extremists.

 

He said that democratic forces will not be deterred by such cowardly acts and will continue to fight the militants and extremists to the finish and make the ongoing process of democratic transition a success.

 

Prime Minister Justice (R) Mir Hazar Khan Khoso phoned Yusaf Gilani and expressed his deep concern over firing and kidnapping of his son Ali Haider Gilani.

 

He assured Gilani that he was in constant contact with the provincial government and had issued instructions for coordinated efforts of law enforcing agencies for an early recovery of Ali Haider Gilani.

 

He assured the former prime minister that all necessary steps would be taken for his son’s safe recovery.Khoso directed the interior minister to oversee the situation and provide all possible assistance to the provincial government in this regard.

 

Chief Election Commissioner Justice (R) Fakhruddin G Ebrahim has also condemned the incident.PPP Patron-in-Chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has strongly condemned the abduction of Ali Haider Gilani, the son of former Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, and demanded his immediate recovery and steps for the protection of candidates and their families.

 

He demanded of the government, ECP and law enforcement agencies to ensure the immediate recovery of Ali Haider Gilani and the provision of all possible security to the Gilani family members and candidates of PPP.

 

Altaf Hussain telephoned Yusuf Raza Gilani and expressed sympathy on the kidnapping of his son.

 

He said that the election commission, and the caretaker government had made several promises for holding peaceful and transparent elections but apparently the entire country had become hostage to religious extremists. He said that the increasing incidents of terrorism clearly indicated the growing influence of terrorists in the country. He said that denying the reality would be equal to burying head in the sand. He extended full cooperation to Gilani and said that the MQM was with him in this difficult time.

 

Condemning the kidnapping, PTI vice-chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the ECP should take notice of the statements issued by the brothers of the victim.A letter from the leader of Taliban, obtained by Reuters on Thursday, revealed plans for suicide bomb attacks on election day.

 

Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud, in a message to the group’s spokesman, outlined plans for the attacks, including suicide blasts, in all four of the country’s provinces on polling day on Saturday.

 

“We don’t accept the system of infidels which is called democracy,” Mehsud said in the letter, dated May 1.Taliban spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan, however, denied responsibility of kidnapping of Gilani in a telephone call to Reuters.

 

Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Najam Sethi has taken strict notice of kidnapping and firing at the corner meeting of Ali Haider in Multan and sought a report from the IG police. He directed that measures should be taken on emergency basis for the safe recovery of Ali Haider and the arrest of culprits involved in the incident. He ordered the best treatment facilities for the injured.

 

PML-N President Nawaz Sharif has expressed serious concerns over the kidnapping of the son of Yusuf Raza Gilani. He asked the intelligence and law-enforcement agencies to take every measure for the quick recovery of the Ali Haider.

 

He also expressed his concern and sadness over the loss of precious lives due to eruption of fire at LDA Plaza at Edgerton Road.Former interior minister Rehman Malik also condemned abduction of Ali Haider.