National & World News
Ex-Pakistani PM: Son's kidnappers want militants released
MULTAN, Pakistan (AP) -- The captors of a former Pakistani prime minister's son demanded the release of several al-Qaida prisoners in exchange for his release, the former premier said Sunday.
Yusuf Raza Gilani said he spoke by phone for eight minutes to his son Ali Haider, who he believed was being held somewhere in Afghanistan.
Gunmen seized Haider in May 2013. In a video, later released purportedly by the Taliban, the militants claimed to be holding him hostage.
His son appeared to be in good condition, Gilani said.
"They're demanding, they're talking about the release of some al-Qaida men, their children and women," Ginai said. He said he had previously taken up the issue with the Afghan president and planned to pursue the matter with Pakistani officials.
Gilani, who served as prime minister between March 2008 and April 2012, led major military offensives against Taliban strongholds like Swat and South Waziristan in 2009.
Also on Sunday, a militant video purported to show a Chinese tourist kidnapped by Taliban-allied fighters in Pakistan a year ago asking for his government to assist in his release.
A militant known to belong to a Taliban splinter group called Jaish al-Hadeed, or the "Army of Steel," provided the video to The Associated Press. While it could not be independently verified by the AP, the man in the video resembled other known photographs of Hong Xudong, kidnapped in May 2014.
In the video, the man identified as Hong asks for the Chinese government to honor his kidnappers' ransom demands, without ever stating the nature of those demands. Chinese officials and state media did not immediately comment on the video. Officials at the Chinese Embassy in Islamabad could not be reached for comment.
Hong went missing after entering Pakistan from neighboring India in April 2014. Police later found his passport, bicycle and personal belongings.
Following Hong's abduction, the commander of a Taliban splinter group called Shehryar Mehsud claimed responsibility for the abduction.
Associated Press Writer Ishtiaq Mahsud in Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan contributed to this report.