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Al Qaeda kidnapped me to seek release of al-Zwahiri relatives: Ali Haider

Ali Haider, son of former premier Yousuf Raza Gilani, in an interview to British news channel at his Lahore residence broke his silence about his kidnapping ordeal.

Gilani said he was in Al Qaeda’s captivity for three years, which wanted the release of some women of the family of the group’s leader Ayman al-Zwahiri and a hefty amount in exchange of his freedom.

Ali Gilani in first interview after his recovery last month in a joint operation carried out by Afghan and US forces from an Al Qaeda compound in Afghanistan’s Paktika province.

Ali Haider Gilani said that after his abduction in May 2013, he was kept at a place in Faisalabad for some time and than shifted to Waziristan via Bannu and later taken to Afghanistan.

Gillani said he was not subjected to torture but kept under intense pressure.

During captivity, an important member of Al Qaeda who went by the name of Zia stayed with him, he said.

Ali Haider said he had not received any threats prior to his abduction, he was told later that he was being followed.

He said after his recovery, he introduced himself to the American soldier and told him, ” I am a son of the former prime minister of Pakistan.” He was surprised and contacted his high ups.

“After confirmation in minutes, he told me Mr. Gillani you are going home.”

Ali Haider Gillani was running for a provincial assembly seat from Multan when he was abducted on May 9, 2013. One of his guards and his secretary were killed during the kidnapping incident.

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