Shahbaz Taseer finally breaks his silence and we blame him for cooking up a story? Really, Pakistan?

Published: May 18, 2016

Warning: The pictures displayed below are graphic. Please use discretion.

Shahbaz Taseer has spoken up for the first time about his five-year horrific ordeal. Why now, is anyone’s guess but with so much negativity and fabrications going around, perhaps it was time to set the record straight.

Even after his interview with CNN and BBC where he had to relive the torture by recalling the details, many people called him out for not being truthful and making up most of it.

There were comments like:

 “But he doesn’t look like he was tortured.”

He clearly states that his torture stopped after a while, so there is this thing called healing. Also he is a human, not a zombie.

“Where are the marks?”

Under his clothes? You should really protest why he is not giving interviews naked to fulfil your curiosity.

“He just looks like he forgot to use sun block.”

Yes, we should call the terrorists up and ask them how dare they did not take care of his delicate skin! Or give him haircuts or shaves.

“A man who goes through a break up looks worse than him.”

Maybe because that man has lost a person and is in momentary shock, and Shahbaz here has gotten his whole life back and is grateful? That darned happiness!

“It’s too fishy to me. He was probably away on holiday somewhere.”

Yes, people saw him in various places partying… with Elvis and Michael Jackson.

Islam ko badnaam karaha hai.

(He is maligning Islam.)

He said he prayed every night and Allah gave him patience and strength. Itna badnaam! Hai Allah!

“He was shot in the leg, how is he still alive?”

Because the leg is sort of in another region far far away from the heart? Think of it like being in another galaxy. Having said that, you should call up Hamid Mir and ask him how he is still alive after being shot six times.

Shahbaz Taseer is certainly the man who lived through hell to have one heck of a story to tell his grandchildren! He was abducted by the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), known to be as the most merciless killers in the circle of militants. The most ruthless amongst the terrorists!

And they certainly were.

While he was in their captivity, he was tortured with each moment captured on video to send to his family to pressure them into giving them the ‘Bank Account number’ to secure the ransom. However, as there was no bank account number to give, the torture went on.

As per Shahbaz, they would tell him a day in advance to prepare himself for the upcoming torture. How does one prepare for such a thing?

They whipped him over 500 times in span of three to four days.

They lashed his back with blades and poured salt on it.

They sliced bits of flesh from his skin, wounds which would not stop bleeding for days.

They pulled out all of his finger and toenails.

They sewed his mouth shut and starved him for a week.

They buried him neck deep in the sand, sometimes for two days, three days and even seven days.

He was shot in the leg.

Pictures of him being tortured were also leaked, perhaps to scare the general public too into obedience. An unknown Twitter account by the name Daniel Miller, active only in 2012 when Shahbaz was still in captivity, tweeted horrific pictures of him being tortured in different ways. His family, along with members of Pakistan Peoples Party were tagged in all of them. Each tweet had official Twitter accounts of Shahbaz’s mother Aamna Taseer, sister Shehrbano Taseer, Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari, Senator Sherry Rehman, Senator Rehman Malik, and veteran journalists Dr Shahid Masood and Sana Bucha tagged. Cruel and sadistic, the account made morbid jokes.

These pictures were apparently verified to be authentic and, at this given moment in time, many people believed him to be dead.

It would not be the first time people would think this as he also survived a drone attack later on.

When Mullah Omar died, the IMU stated that the Afghan Taliban no longer had any legitimacy and it was now time to follow the ISIS caliphate Abu Bakr Baghdadi. He was to be the new Emir.

In spite of previously having good relations, this did not sit well with them and an all out war ensued between the two groups. The Afghan Taliban snapped the back of the IMU and annihilated everyone, including the women and their children.

This was when Shahbaz got a chance to escape but was unfortunately caught again by the Afghan Taliban, who assumed him to be a runaway Uzbek despite him telling them repeatedly that he was not. He was taken to court and sentenced to a year in an Afghani jail.

It was here where he would meet an Afghan man who would eventually help him leave. On February 29, he was released with Rs 10,000 in hand. He rode on a motorbike and walked on foot for eight straight days to Pakistan, through harsh weather and painful roads. Ironically, thanks to his unkempt beard and long hair, the Taliban thinking he was simply one of them going home, would help him.

On March 8, he reached Kuchlak where another Taliban, out of pity, lent him his phone so he could call his mother.

The wheels of rescue were set in motion and he was then taken to the Army compound. Once secure, they asked him if he would like to have some tea, to which he asked instead for Nihaari.

A brave man with his sense of humor still intact, when asked what he is doing these days, Shahbaz said he is taking each day as it came and was learning how to use a smart phone.

It is nothing less than a miracle that he survived nearly five years in hell. He has a definite guardian angel looking out for him on double triple duty!

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Shamila Ghyas

Shamila Ghyas

The writer is the author of the Aoife and Demon series. She also writes for Khabaristan Times, The Nation, Express Tribune, Dawn and other publications. She can be reached at @ShamilaGhyas ( and

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.