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Gunmen Abduct Son of Slain Pakistani Governor

Police and security officials keep guard near the cordoned off vehicle of Shahbaz Taseer after he was kidnapped by unidentified men in Lahore, Aug. 26, 2011.

Provincial authorities say police and intelligence agencies have launched a major search operation to find Shahbaz Taseer, who was kidnapped in Lahore’s upscale residential Gulberg area Friday morning.

Gunmen Abduct Son of Slain Pakistani Governor
Gunmen Abduct Son of Slain Pakistani Governor
Eyewitnesses say Shahbaz was on the way to his office when kidnappers intercepted his car and took him away in their vehicle.

Rana Nazar Hayat is a police spokesman in Lahore.

“All the entry and exit points of Lahore have been sealed. A hectic manhunt and search is going on and soon, God willing, we will try to find his whereabouts.”

No one has claimed responsibility for the incident, the second high-profile kidnapping in Lahore this month.

About two weeks ago, a group of armed men entered the house of an American development expert, Warren Weinstein, in Lahore’s Model Town residential area and took him away.

The 70-year-old country director of the private U.S.-based company J.E Austin was associated with USAID-funded projects in Pakistan’s volatile northwestern tribal regions.

Police are still searching for Weinstein's kidnappers, and U.S. FBI agents are helping in the local investigation. So far, the abductors have not made any demands.

Authorities are also clueless about Friday’s kidnapping, but relatives are reported as saying that Shahbaz’s family had been receiving threatening calls from extremist groups.

Shahbaz is a director of several companies founded by his father, Salman Taseer, the former governor of Punjab province who was shot dead by one of his security guards in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, in January.

The alleged assassin, Mumtaz Qadri, is on trial. He surrendered to police shortly after the death of Taseer and confessed to the crime, saying he killed the governor for criticizing Pakistan’s blasphemy law.

Despite the confession, his trial remains inconclusive because judges seem reluctant to hear the case for fear of being targeted by Islamists. Witnesses also refuse to testify against Qadri, citing the same concerns. Islamic groups have publicly praised Qadri’s act, describing him as a defender of Islam.