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I was with IMU: Shahbaz Taseer

17 May, 2016

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LAHORE: Shahbaz Taseer, the son of slain Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer, who was recovered in March after more than four years in captivity, said he was with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), which tortured him badly during captivity.

Talking to BBC Urdu, Taseer said that he was with the IMU until the group had differences with the Afghan Taliban over ‘Khilafah’. The IMU did not consider the ‘Khilafah’ established by the Afghan Taliban as legitimate and wanted to ally itself with the self-styled Islamic State (IS) group.

“Following the dispute, the Afghan Taliban attacked the Uzbeks and eliminated their whole group — their leadership. For three days, only death lived there.

“At that time I got an opportunity to escape and did so, but the Afghan Taliban took me for an Uzbek and captured me. I was kept with other prisoners and then they took us to a village where a judge came and awarded sentences from 6 months to 2 years and we were sent to an Afghan jail.

“There I met a fellow Taliban prisoner who helped my release. It took him two to three months, but he paved the way for my release,” said Taseer.

Taseer added that he travelled from Afghanistan to Kuchlak on a motorbike, which took eight days, adding that he could not tell if they knew who he was, and whether he was moving towards his freedom or it was another trap.

During the tell-all interview, Taseer said that he was badly tortured during his captivity and added that his captors used to flog him and many times removed his nails and cut his other body parts.

“They abducted me from Lahore and took me to Waziristan’s Mir Ali area. They used to shift my location every month,” said Taseer.

“When these Uzbeks attacked the Karachi airport I was there in Mir Ali, but as they knew how Pakistan’s government and army will respond, they shifted me to Datta Khel. I was there till February 2015,” Taseer told BBC.

Taseer said in his interview that his captors severely tortured him and made videos, photos of their brutal acts. “They used to flog me. I was flogged about 500 times in three days. Then they cut my back with blades and removed nails from my hands and feet,” Taseer recalled. He said that his abductors used to keep him hungry for days and once they stitched his lips.

Taseer said that he was not even provided medicine when, according to him, he was suffering from malaria. “They used to torture me for making films and used to tell me their plans in advance. Like they would tell me that they would remove my nails tomorrow. I used to pray the whole night,” said Taseer.

He said that he started feeling as if he was in God’s protection and nothing his captors do or say could enter the ‘shell’ that God had kept him inside.

When asked as to what was the first thing he ate after his release, he said, “it was Nihari”.

Taseer clarified that he did not eat anything at any restaurant in Kuchlak. When he was brought to the army compound, he said, he was asked as to what he would like to eat. He said that he asked them to bring Nihari.

“I said bring Nihari, if possible, from Lahore. Otherwise, I am ready to eat your Balochi Nihari,” said Taseer.

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