LAHORE, Pakistan — The son of a politician who was slain after being accused of blasphemy in Pakistan was recovered Tuesday more than four years after he was kidnapped, officials said Tuesday.
Shahbaz Taseer's dad Salman Taseer was serving as governor of Punjab province when he was assassinated by his own bodyguard in December 2010 for defending a Christian woman on death row for blasphemy charges.
The governor's son, who is aged in his mid-30s, was kidnapped while sitting in his Mercedes-Benz outside his house in the city of Lahore in August 2011. He was recovered Tuesday near the town of Kuchlak, almost 450 miles away, according to local government spokesman Irfanullah Kakar.
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His father's killer, police commando Mumtaz Qadri, was last week executed after five years in prison. On Monday, a bomb killed 10 people in a Pakistani town in an attack claimed by a Taliban splinter group as revenge for Qadri's execution.
However, officials gave conflicting accounts about the nature of Taseer's release.
One security official based in the nearby city of Quetta told NBC News that he was rescued by security forces. "This was a multi-agency operation," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "He is safe and we are bringing him home."
Another security official gave a different account, however, suggesting someone had paid Taseer's ransom.
"He was left alone by his kidnappers at a roadside hotel," the second official said, also speaking anonymously as he is not permitted to speak to the press. "He walked out and asked one of the customers if he could use his phone. He then called his mother, and she notified us. We think that ransom has probably been paid."
Shahbaz Taseer's brother, Shehryar Taseer, told NBC News last year that the family had been negotiating with the kidnappers, whose identity is unknown. NBC News attempted to contact Taseer's family Tuesday but there was no immediate response.
Defined as defiling or insulting the Prophet Muhammad or the Quran, blasphemy is punishable by death in Pakistan. No one has been executed for the crime but many people have spent years on death row.