LAHORE: Former premier Yousuf Raza Gilani’s son Ali Haider who has been recovered from Afghanistan a couple of days back, plans to write a book and may also accept an offer to work for a Hollywood film based on his three-year Al Qaeda captivity and “miraculous” release.
Although the notes he took during his captivity in Afghanistan have been lost but the ‘painful memory’ of the period is very much alive in his mind.
“My son plans to write a book on the ordeal he had gone through in three-year captivity of militants,” former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani told Dawn.
“My son had written a manuscript for a book detailing his ordeal in captivity but it was burnt by his captors. But, he intends to pen down what he had gone through during the period. PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also encouraged him to write a book about his ordeal,” he said.
Mr Gilani further said his son might also consider an offer made to him by Jurassic Park director Steven Spielberg who wanted to make a movie on Haider’s kidnap episode. Mr Spielberg telephoned Haider and made the offer on Thursday, he added “Today US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton also telephoned me and congratulated me over the return of my son. I told her that militants kidnapped my son to punish me for launching a military operation in Malakand division. I also thanked her for US forces’ help in Haider’s release. Clinton promised me she would invite me to the White House if she was elected president,” Mr Gilani said.
Meanwhile, Haider Gilani expressed his gratitude to the people of Pakistan for praying for his safe return.
In a message during his brief appearance before the media at his residence he said, “I just want to thank everyone for their prayers for my return. I am happy to get home safely. Its Allah’s blessing. I am feeling great.”
He said he was watching on TV people celebrating his return. “I am thankful to the people, especially of Multan, who had come to Lahore to see me,” he said.
To a question about his ordeal in captivity, Haider said: “It is a very long story. Some other time I will tell you (about this).”
On being asked whether he would continue to sport the long beard he had grown in captivity, he said: “I was very close to Allah even before (being kidnapped) by the Taliban.”
When asked about his plans to write a book on his ordeal, he said: “I will tell you (soon).”
Later in the day, PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and his sister Ms Bakhtawar visited the Gilanis at their Defence residence and spent some three hours there.
“Miracles do happen. Haider’s release has given an immense happiness to the people, especially the PPP workers,” Mr Bilawal said.
Haider’s sister Fiza Batool Gilani said: “I’d like to thank all our friends and family and everyone who prayed for Haider’s safe return. Alhamd-o-lillah, Allah has answered our prayers.”
PTI Chairman Imran Khan and other political leaders also telephoned Yousuf Raza Gilani and congratulated him at Haider’s return.
Ali Haider was kidnapped in May 2013 in his hometown of Multan. He was recovered safely during a joint operation by US and Afghan forces in Gaylan district of Afghanistan on Tuesday.
Published in Dawn, May 13th, 2016