From A to Z, from Musharraf Zaidi to Bakhtawar Bhutto, from Punjab Chief Minister to Pakistani Prime Minister, everyone is praying for the safe return of Shahbaz Taseer, the son of the slain Punjab Governor Salman Taseer. Salman was killed earlier this year by his security guard after he had called for justice to a Christian woman, Asia Bibi, charged under Blasphemy law.
Many Pakistani netizens are sharing their shock and have joined in prayers for Shahbaz's return, but one wonders, will prayers work for the young Taseer?
Shahbaz Taseer was kidnapped in the broad day light from a busy Hussain Chowk in Gulberg, Lahore. He was driving his (read his late father's) Mercedes. The kidnappers came in a white Toyota Corolla brand car and one knows what was the number plate/registration number. The Pakistani media are sadly focused on the car company and model rather than on the registration number. The kidnappers threw his Ipad, Iphone and two other phones on the road and also left his expensive car. They only took Shahbaz along…why?
Express Tribune's blogger Jahanzeb Haque detests the kidnapping in his blog and also tries to answer this question:
“Was it the fact that the Taseers maintained a courageous face after the murder of their father, stepping forward into the media light and trying to make a difference, rather than cowing down as the men in beards would want? A refusal to submit to the whims of terrorists merits murder and abduction?
What a sad state of affairs – the screams in my head will not stop today, or for many more days.”
No one has taken responsibility for Taseer’s kidnapping and there is no demand made public for ransom. Many bloggers and twitteratis are avoiding to speculate and protests against the kidnapping were canceled on the request of the family.
However, few bloggers and tweets are indirectly pointing fingers at the right wing organizations that supports Malik Mumtaz Qadri, the killer of late Salman Taseer.
Kalsoom Lakhani at Changing Up Pakistan (CHUP) calls this cowardly act inhuman and prays for early return of Taseer:
“Although the perpetrators of today’s kidnapping have not yet been confirmed, we know that whoever committed this act are not Pakistanis. They are not Muslims. They are not human beings. They reek of the rot and decay that plague this society, that people like the Taseers have had the courage to challenge and stand against. I’ll update this space as news comes in and send thoughts and prayers to his family for Shahbaz’s safe return.”
This is the second high profile kidnapping case in one month. A US citizen Warren Weinstein was abducted from his house in the city of Lahore early this month.
Blogger Tazeen Jay raises some serious questions about the performance of the state:
“If a rich and well connected (they have connections with the men in two of the most powerful houses of the country; Presidency and PM House) family like Taseers is facing so much grief vis-à-vis security, rule of law and justice in the country, imagine the plight of a common man. Be it Karachi or Jamrud, the Taseers or any other poor family, the state is failing its citizens again and again and is doing it with impunity.”
Salman Latif is disturbed by the reaction of the society and feels that the many don't care about the kidnapping:
“Many who, either out of cowardice, or because they secretly support this act of kidnapping, have used the age-old excuse: since hundreds of other people are dying in Pakistan, why should we care about the abduction of one person, merely because he’s a celebrity? To such dumb-head cowardly hypocrites, let me ask this: why should we give a damn to the killings in Kashmir when people are dying at Baluchistan at the hands of Pak army, a land which is much more close? “
Sonya Rehman keeps her fingers crossed and wish that young Taseer was kidnapped for ransom.
“Shahbaz, we’re praying for you. We’re praying the abduction was carried out solely for ransom. We pray that you are returned, unharmed, to your family – and most importantly – to the loving, outstretched arms of your mother.”
Here are a few tweets encouraging special prayer for return of Shahbaz Taseer:
Pakistani Politician and son of Former President of Pakistan; General Zia Ul Haq tweets from Mecca:
@ijazulhaq: Salam from Mecca. Millions performing Umra & Taravi. Been jam packed. Dua at Qayum ul Lail at 3 am today. Praying for Shahbaz Taseer too
Aseefa Bhutto Zardari, Pakistan’s Ambassodor for Polio Eradication and the daughter of the President Asif Zardari tweets:
@AseefaBZ: Please dont stop praying for the safe return of @shabaztaseer. Thoughts & prayers r w/h @shehrbanotaseer,@AmnaTaseer & whole Taseer family
Mohammad Ali tweets:
@ghotkipk: Tonight is Laylatul kadr night. Pray for recovery of Shahbaz Taseer I'm reading the surah Yaseen. May all our prayers be heard. Ameen
Anjum Kiani requests:
@AnjumKiani: @Mehmal @zburki plz dont forget those killed inKarachi, kashmir and drone attacks whilst we grienve for Shahbaz
Looking at the recent and past record of the Punjab Police, there is a little hope that Shahbaz Taseer will be found soon. But hoping against hope, let us join the collective prayer for his safe and early return.