Six suspects, including two women, were arrested today during an operation to trace the kidnapped son of former premier Yousuf Raza Gilani in Pakistan's restive northwest, officials said.
A joint team of police and law enforcement agencies raided the property of a man named Sardar Ali near Akhora Khattak in Nowshera district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province early this morning.
The team arrested six suspects and freed a kidnapped man named Abdul Wahab but could not trace Ali Haider Gilani, who was abducted on May 9.
Nowshera district police chief Waqar Ahmed told the media that Abdul Wahab had said that Ali Haider too had been held by the kidnappers at the same place.
Ahmed said the raid was carried out after police gathered some "technical data" about the kidnappers.
"Wahab told us that another kidnapped man from Punjab, who said he was Prime Minister Gilani's son and a candidate in the elections, was being held at the same place," Ahmed said.
Two women were among the arrested persons.
Ahmed said all the suspects detained by police were Afghan refugees.
"The gang leaders are still at large," Ahmed said.
"We are conducting more raids. It is possible that they may have released Ali Haider and police would soon trace him." The arrested persons were later taken from Nowshera to Peshawar. Officials said the raid was carried out in a forested area. A large number of Afghan refugees and people from the tribal belt work on farms in the area, they said.
Ali Moosa, another son of Gilani, said he could not confirm anything till he personally spoke to Ali Haider. "We have no information from the authorities. We are in touch with Punjab Police, but they have no information," Moosa told reporters in his hometown of Multan in Punjab province. Suspected militants kidnapped Ali Haider, 27, while he was campaigning for the May 11 polls in Multan. The kidnappers shot and killed his personal secretary and a bodyguard. Officials had earlier said they believed the abduction was the handiwork of a faction of the Punjabi Taliban. No group has claimed the kidnapping and the Gilani family has not been contacted by the abductors.