Son of Former Pakistani PM Kidnapped at Election Rally

ISLAMABAD (McClatchy Foreign Staff/MCT) -

Suspected extremists kidnapped the youngest son of Pakistan’s former prime minister Thursday in the central city of Multan, the latest in a series of attacks aimed at disrupting the campaign for the country’s general election Saturday.

Eyewitnesses said that as many as 16 men with long beards, in cars and on motorcycles, attacked a rally where Ali Haider Gilani, the son of former Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, was speaking. The younger Gilani is a candidate for a seat in the Punjab provincial legislature.

Police sealed the city to prevent the kidnappers from smuggling Gilani out of Multan, which is in a region that’s known as a center of terrorist groups allied with the Pakistani Taliban, about 100 miles from the tribal areas that border Afghanistan. The kidnappers shot to death Gilani’s secretary, Mohammed Mohiuddin, and wounded eight other people before dragging Gilani into a black Honda sedan and fleeing.

The elder Gilani was Pakistan’s prime minister from 2008 until last year, when the Supreme Court sacked him for refusing to initiate corruption proceedings against President Asif Ali Zardari.

The court also banned the elder Gilani from running in Saturday’s election, but all three of his sons are candidates for the Pakistan People’s Party.