The son of a former prime minister of Pakistan Yousuf Raza Gilani has spoken to the BBC after he was kidnapped by al-Qaeda militants. Ali Haider Gilani was released a few weeks ago. Watch his interview with BBC down below
In a heart-wrenching interview he gave to Shaimaa Khalil he told about his ordeal that, his abductors told him the kidnapping was aimed directly at his father. “My father was prime minister when their leader Osama Bin Laden was killed. He also started an operation in South Waziristan. They told me they wanted to take revenge.”
Following his abduction, Gilani was first taken to the industrial town of Faisalabad after which he was moved to North Waziristan.
“I was chained for two years,” he said.
“I was kept in a small room, not allowed to see the sky for one year and two months. I forgot how the sun felt on my skin.”
Gilani said he had a diary where he tried to keep track of time and jot down day-to-day thoughts: “It kept me sane.” He added, “I prayed a lot. I used to think of my son and say I have to survive for him.”
After Mr Gilani was released he moved to Bagram airbase and was met by senior Afghan generals. The next day he went to Kabul and saw his brother for the first time.
“I was still in shock,” he said.
“A few hours ago, I was in the hands of the Taliban. I could die any moment. Now, I’m seeing my family.”
By that time, the news had spread all over Pakistan and celebrations had broken out in his hometown of Multan. When he arrived there his family was waiting.
“First I hugged my mother. She was crying and I said ‘it’s over I’m back now.’ Then I met my son. He’d changed so much, I didn’t recognize him but he did.
“I said ‘Baby, I’m your father’ and he told me ‘I recognize you Baba’.”
Mr Gilani says he is keen to move on with his life, he is writing a book where he will reveal more details about his time in captivity.
He says he will eventually go back to politics.
“It’s in my blood,” he says with a smile.