`ISI conducting ops to trace Shahbaz Taseer`

Shahbaz was kidnapped by armed men in Lahore on August 26 while he was driving to work.

Last Updated: Sep 15, 2011, 16:06 PM IST

Islamabad: After grappling in dark to trace
slain Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer`s son Shahbaz for over afortnight after his kidnapping, the Punjab government has said the military-run ISI is primarily conducting the operation to trace him.

The Punjab police, Special Branch and Crime Investigation
Department are "assisting the ISI in its efforts to track down
the kidnapped, but the whole matter is being dealt with by the
ISI", Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah was quoted saying by
`The News` daily.

Shahbaz was kidnapped by armed men in Lahore on August 26
while he was driving to work.

His father was assassinated by a police guard in January
in an unrelated incident.

After Lahore police chief`s faux pas he said Warren
Weinstein, an American aid worker kidnapped from Lahore, was
present in Faisalabad the ISI "became careful about sharing
information with police and other civilian authorities about
high profile cases", the newspaper said.

An unnamed official said authorities in Punjab were
unaware about details regarding progress in tracing Shahbaz
or Weinstein as the ISI was not telling them anything about
its operations.

He said he believed Shahbaz had been shifted to the
restive tribal areas, to which police generally does not have
access though this is not a handicap for the ISI.

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif is getting briefing
almost every day from the chiefs of the Special Branch and CID
on the two kidnapping cases, which have put his government
under immense pressure.

The official said the ISI involves Punjab Police in its
operations, but only when it wants to catch hold of a suspect.
The Punjab authorities do not know what transpires at the
interrogation of such persons, he said.

The official said some persons taken into custody over the
past few weeks have spoken about "facilitating" Shahbaz`s
abduction.

"But to say at this stage that we have reached close to
the real kidnappers, to be in a position to arrest them is
difficult," he said.

He said it was possible the kidnappers used some cell
phone SIMs while committing the crime and then destroyed them
to avoid being tracked.

The official claimed that the Taseer family was satisfied
with efforts made by the Punjab government.

He said the family expressed displeasure when some ruling
Pakistan People`s Party leaders tried to make a scandal out of
the kidnapping against the provincial government.

PTI