Pakistan’s security forces safely recovered the son of a high profile judge early Tuesday morning after almost a month in captivity.
Awais Shah, the son of the chief justice of Sindh province, was kidnapped in late June from an upscale neighborhood in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city.
He was rescued in a town called Dera Ismael Khan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province when a suspicious blue Toyota failed to stop at a checkpoint.
A military sniper killed the driver, after which the car came to a halt and two other militants were killed when they opened fire and tried to escape.
Dressed in a burqa
Security personnel found Shah in the car, blindfolded and chained, with his mouth taped. The kidnappers had made him wear a burqa, a black robe and veil used by conservative Muslim women, to hide his identity.
Three Kalashnikovs, along with hundreds of rounds of ammunition and several grenades were also seized from the car, according to Major General Asim Saleem Bajwa, the spokesman for Pakistan’s military who briefed the media on the rescue operation.
He said the kidnappers, who belonged to a splinter group of Pakistani Taliban and al-Qaida, were trying to transport Shah to Afghanistan.
Bajwas also said this was a pre-planned operation by Pakistan’s military, led by its intelligence agency the Inter Services Intelligence, based on information they had been receiving for several days.
Speaking to the media soon after his son returned to Karachi in a special plane, Shah’s father, Sajjad Ali Shah, said army chief Raheel Sharif had called him at 3 a.m. on Tuesday morning to tell him his son had been recovered.
“He was personally monitoring the team that General Rizwan, the DG ISI had organized,” he said.
This is the third time in the last few months in Pakistan that a high profile person has returned home after a kidnapping.
The other two, Shahbaz Taseer, the son of Punjab province’s slain governor Salman Taseer, and Syed Ali Gilani, son of former Pakistani prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, suffered for years in captivity in Afghanistan, and in Taseer’s case, faced brutal torture, before they were rescued.
Military spokesman Bajwa said Dera Ismael Khan, where Shah was recovered, was considered a high threat zone and the security forces were planning to carry out combing operations in the area.