The younger Gilani was leaving an election event in the city of Multan in southern Punjab province when attackers pulled up in a car and motorcycle, sprayed the area with bullets, threw him into one of the vehicles and drove off, officials and witnesses said.
“One of the gunmen grabbed Haider, who had blood splashed on his trousers,” said rally participant Shehryar Ali in comments aired by Pakistani television broadcaster Geo News.
The former prime minister has been campaigning heavily in Multan to help his three sons, who are all running for elected office in the district, but he was not at the rally when his son was taken.
Appearing shaken, the elder Gilani said in televised comments that two bodyguards were killed in the attack, but he did not know whether his son was wounded.
“His two guards were shielding him, and they died,” the former premier said. “I urge all of my party supporters to remain peaceful and participate in the vote.”
Gilani was forced out of office last summer by the Supreme Court after refusing to pursue a corruption case against President Asif Ali Zardari.
Although his ouster from office meant he could not run in this election, the Gilani family is still heavily represented in the Multan district races. In addition to the son who was abducted, the former prime minister has two sons running for national assembly seats.
The Pakistan People’s Party, the Karachi-based Muttahida Quami Movement and the Awami National Party have been the target of attacks by the Taliban. All were part of the outgoing government during a time when there were repeated military offensives against Taliban militants in the tribal areas.
The threat has forced all three to severely curtail their election events. Instead of the large, outdoor rallies the PPP used in 2008 to whip up support among thousands of voters, the party has relied on television and newspaper ads and smaller indoor gatherings where security is more manageable.