Ex-Pakistani PM Gilani’s son kidnapped from poll meeting

Islamabad, May 9 (IANS) Former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani’s son Ali Haider Gilani was abducted Thursday in a town in Pakistan’s Punjab province by armed men who attacked his street corner meeting with guns blazing, killing one person and injuring four others.

Armed men kidnapped Ali Haider from the street corner meeting of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) at Multan’s Matti-Tal road.

The abductors opened fire and injured five people, including Ali Haider’s secretary Mohiuddin, who later died.

Police said Ali Haider was taken away in a black Honda City car.

Some of the kidnappers had come on motorcycles.

Ali Haider was contesting for the May 11 election from PPP-200 constituency in Multan.

Gilani’s sons, Ali Musa and Abdul Qadir, were angry and in tears, reported Dawn.

“I will not allow elections to be held in my constituency at any cost. My brother is gone, how can I let polls take place in Multan,” an emotional Ali Musa Gilani told television channels.

Pakistan goes to polls May 11.

Yousuf Raza Gilani was forced to step down as prime minister last year over the issue of writing a letter to Swiss authorities to reopen a graft case against President Asif Ali Zardari.

Zardari condemned the kidnapping.

Zardari, who called up Yusuf Raza Gillani, described the kidnapping of Ali Haider Gilani as a most reprehensible act of a cowardly enemy, spokesperson for the president Senator Farhatullah Babar said.

He said the president also called upon government agencies concerned to recover him safely and bring the culprits to book.

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

Zardari said the 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.

The police sealed all exit points from Multan and conducted a search operation.

No group claimed responsibility and Gilani’s family has also not blamed any one for the incident.

The Taliban had threatened to attack the PPP, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and the Awami National Party in the run-up to the elections.

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