Shahbaz Taseer: ‘Walking back from the dead’
Shahbaz Taseer was kidnapped months after his father’s assassination Reuters

Shahbaz Taseer, son of the assassinated governor of Pakistan's Punjab Province Salman Taseer, has spoken about his abduction and torture for four-and-a-half years by a Pakistan militant group. Shahbaz was kidnapped by the militant group known as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) in August 2011.

He was driving to work when suddenly a car blocked his path and five masked men with guns pulled him out of his car. "My world spun horribly out of control," he wrote in the New York Times, recounting his kidnapping.

The incident occurred seven months after his father's assassination. His father was killed by a police guard, Mumtaz Qadri, for speaking about reforming the blasphemy law.

Shahbaz said he was tortured mercilessly by the IMU, but his faith and the Quran, the memory of his father, and the love of his family, gave him the strength to stay strong during those difficult months.

"They pulled my fingernails out," Shahbaz told the CNN, adding: "It started with them lashing me with rubber whips. First day was 100 then they would go up to 200. They would carve my back open with blades, and then throw salt into it. They sewed my mouth shut and starved me. They cut flesh off my back, I bled for seven days and they gave me no medication."

In November 2015, Shahbaz got a chance to escape from his abductors when a conflict broke out between the Afghan Taliban and the IMU. But he was captured by the Afghan Taliban and kept in captivity again. However, he was soon freed by a member of the group. "It's insane you can find humanity where there is none," he said.

On 8 March, Shahbaz returned home to his family after travelling for several days.

"You can take the miracle how you want," he told CNN, likening his ordeal to "walking back from the dead to celebrate my father."

"You forget the faces of the people you love and then suddenly you have your life back. It's such an amazing feeling. To see my wife, to have breakfast with my mother, drive with my brother or to watch a football game with friends," he added.