KARACHI: Shahbaz Taseer, the son of slain Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer, who was recovered in March after being held captive for over four years, said he was with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) whose militants tortured him badly during captivity.

Talking to BBC Urdu, Shahbaz revealed that he was with the IMU until the group fought with the Afghan Taliban on a dispute over allegiance as the IMU did not consider ‘Khilafah’ established by the Afghan Taliban as legitimate and wanted to ally itself with the militant Islamic State (IS) group.

“Following the dispute, 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 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 six months to two 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” he added.

Shahbaz said that he travelled from Afghanistan to Kuchlak in Balochistan on a motorbike, which took eight days, adding that he could not tell if they did not know who he was, and whether he was moving towards his freedom or this was some trap.

During the tell-all interview, Shahbaz claimed that he was badly tortured during his captivity, adding that his captors used to flog him and many a time removed his nails and cut his body parts.

“They abducted me from Lahore and took me to Waziristan’s Mirali area and used to shift my location every month from there,” said Shahbaz.

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

Floggings and torture

Shahbaz Taseer claimed that his captors severely tortured him and made videos and photos of their brutal act.

“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,” Shahbaz revealed.

He added that the abductors used to keep him hungry for days and once they stitched his mouth.

Shahbaz said 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 will remove my nails tomorrow. I used to pray the whole night,” he said .

He claimed that he started feeling as if he is in God’s protection and nothing his captors do or say can enter the ‘shell’ God has kept him inside.

Published in Dawn, May 17th, 2016