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US, Afghan forces rescue kidnapped son of former Pakistani PM Gilani

After three years in Taliban captivity, the kidnapped son of a former Pakistani PM has been freed. A statement from Pakistan's foreign ministry said the rescue was a joint US-Afghan operation.

The foreign ministry of Pakistan issued a statement Tuesday saying that Ali Haider Gilani, the son of former Pakistani prime minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, had been freed from Taliban captivity "in a joint operation carried out by the Afghan and US security forces in Ghazni, Afghanistan."

Ali Haider Gilani was kidnapped in May, 2013

a few days before general elections in the country. He was a national assembly candidate for the secular Pakistan People's Party (PPP) in the 2013 election and was kidnapped by armed gunmen at an election rally. The gunmen opened fire, killing Gilani's secretary and bodyguard while wounding four others.

Yousuf Raza Gilani was prime minister from 2008 to 2012, but was

sacked and indicted by the Supreme Court

for refusing to reopen corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari, who was in office at the time.

The PPP has led several offensives against militants in the past.

The younger Gilani had been able to speak with his father last year via telephone to let him know he was alive.

"Ali Haider Gilani was abducted by an al Qaeda-affiliated militant group in the southeastern city of Multan. Banned Islamist groups kidnap government officials and politicians for ransom and to increase pressure on Islamabad. A number of important figures are still in Taliban's captivity," Salman Abid, a Lahore-based security analyst, told DW, adding that it was unclear whether the Pakistani government paid ransom for Gilani's release.

Sources close to the Gilani family told DW that the government would send a special plane to Kabul to pick up Ali Haider Gilani.

Abdul Qadir Gilani, another son of the former premier, told DW's Lahore correspondent, Tanvir Shahzad, that Ali Haider Gilani was in good health and was looking forward to returning home.

mz,shs/jm (AFP, AP, dpa)

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