Former premier Yousaf Reza Gilanis son Ali Haider was Thursday abducted by suspected militants who shot and killed two persons in Punjab province,triggering fresh concerns about Pakistans general elections already been badly hit by Taliban violence.
Ali Haider,27,was campaigning at Farrukh Town in Multan,350 km from Lahore,when the gunmen intercepted his SUV and fired indiscriminately. The gunmen,who came to the spot on motorcycles and a car,took Ali Haider away with them.
Mohiyuddin Bhutta,personal secretary of Ali Haider,was killed instantly and four bodyguards were injured. One of the guards later died in hospital.
No group claimed responsibility. Sources in Punjab Police told PTI that a Punjabi Taliban faction was believed to be behind the abduction.
Local police chief Ghulam Mehmood Dogar described the incident as an act of terrorism. He said police had sealed the district and offered a reward for anyone who provides information about the kidnappers. Dogar did not rule out the involvement of banned militant groups.
Six to eight men were involved in the kidnapping and police had arrested two suspects,he added.
A witness told the media that the gunmen came to the spot in a car and two motorcycles and indiscriminately fired at Ali Haiders supporters.
He said he had seen the gunmen bundle Ali Haider into a black car and drive away. The gunmen kept firing as they sped away,the witness said.
The witness said Ali Haiders clothes were stained with blood but he was not sure whether he had been wounded. The abductors were wearing salwar-kameez and one of them had a beard,the witness said.
Ali Haider is contesting polls to the Punjab Assembly.
The former premier told the media that the forces attacking liberal political parties were behind his sons abduction. He asked PPP workers to remain calm and continue their campaign. Democracy is the best revenge, he said.
TV footage showed Ali Moosa,another of Gilanis sons,weeping and trying to control irate PPP workers. He pledged that he would not allow polls to be held in Multan if his brother was not recovered.
President Asif Ali Zardari condemned the kidnapping of Ali Haider. He telephoned Yousuf Raza Gilani and described the abduction as a most reprehensible act of a cowardly enemy.