World Bulletin / News Desk
The son of a former Pakistani prime minister, who was recovered from Afghanistan a day before after being held in captivity by al-Qaeda linked militants for three years, arrived in the Pakistani city of Lahore Wednesday, according to local media.
Ali Haider Gilani, one of the sons of ex-premier Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani, was kidnapped by militants from the middle of a pre-election meeting in broad daylight from the Pakistani city of Multan on May 9, 2013.
He was rescued in a joint operation involving U.S. and Afghan security forces in southeastern Afghanistan Tuesday.
Pakistani prime minister’s special aircraft carrying Haider Gilani landed at Lahore airport after he was formally handed over to Pakistani officials and his twin brother Kasim Gilani in the Afghan capital Kabul Wednesday.
Before his kidnapping in 2013, Haider Gilani used to be a clean shaven man. But after being held for three years by what the Afghan government described as an al-Qaeda affiliated group, the youngest son of the former premier emerged out of the plane sporting a long beard, dressed in a white T-shirt and a baseball cap.
He was immediately embraced by his mother, who hugged him with tears rolling down her cheeks, followed by warm greetings from his siblings.
Hundreds of supporters danced to drum beats and showered the Gilani family car with rose petals as it made its way to their family home in Lahore.
Before rushing to Lahore to see his released son, the ex-premier Raza Gilani appeared before a court in the capital Islamabad to face corruption charges. “I am very, very happy to see that my son is safe and sound,” Raza Gilani told reporters outside the court in Islamabad.
Before leaving for Lahore, Haider Gilani in his brief remarks to the media at Kabul airport had thanked the Afghan and American forces who “fought for his recovery”.
The leadership of Pakistan also deeply appreciated the successful efforts of Afghanistan and American forces in rescuing Gilani safely, a Pakistani Foreign Office statement said.
In his message, the Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif appreciated the patience and courage demonstrated by the Gilani family during its difficult times, according to Radio Pakistan.
Pakistani army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif in his message also thanked Commander of Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, U.S. Gen. John Nicholson and Afghan security forces for the recovery of Haider Gilani in a “successful operation in Afghanistan,” the Pakistani military wing ISPR said on its Facebook page.