It’s been two years since Shahbaz Taseer, son of assassinated Pakistani politician , went missing. He was kidnapped by Pakistani Taliban (TTP) in Lahore on Aug. 26 2011 and his whereabouts remain unknown.
His father, Salman Taseer, was the Governor of Pakistan's Punjab province when he was killed earlier that year for speaking out against the country's draconian blasphemy laws.
Conspiracy theories and rumors around Shahbaz's kidnapping are commonly featured in local media but there is no reliable information about what has happened to him.
In the early stages, rumors suggested that Taseer was kidnapped because of a personal feud with business partners, but in March 2012, the TTP admitted to holding him hostage. Following this revelation, speculations emerged that the terrorist organization had struck a deal with the government of Pakistan to free Taseer in exchange for some of their accomplices who were imprisoned by the authorities. Reports of his alleged death were also floating around at some point.
Recently, unconfirmed reports claimed that Shahbaz Taseer got killed in a drone attack in Pakistan’s tribal areas. .
All this has been a source of great grief to the family. Shabaz’s wife Maheen Taseer has written about her struggle . Most recently, in an article for Newsweek magazine she pointed to the insensitivity of the Pakistani media regarding her husband’s abduction:
“Every day brings a new rumor, a new speculation, a new fear. Truth is trumped by sensationalism by an irresponsible and insatiable media that has no visible regard for those it may be hurting. Media organizations do not seem to care about the pain they cause from their wrong reporting and they certainly don’t think twice about jeopardizing the safety of those at risk, like Shahbaz.”
A lot of the media’s curiosity about Shahbaz stems from the fact that he is the son of a man who was gunned down by his own security guard because he was striving for the rights of minorities in the country.
The odd silence on the media’s part strongly suggests that Islamist elements in the country hold more authority than the government and law enforcement agencies of Pakistan.
Shahbaz Taseer’s case highlights many problems that the state faces today including the lack of freedom of speech, minority rights, and security. People should know what happened to Shahbaz and why. It’s their right to know. But will they ever know?