When a reader shared a small post about this book, I knew I had to get it. With the TBR awfully long what would another new book matter? Having heard and read about the Mr. Salman Taseer’s assassination and his son Shahbaz Taseer’s kidnapping, I was intrigued. The book kept sitting on my bed side table for a good two weeks as I can only read one book at a time. And then one night it caught my attention just as I had finished reading the previous one. Little did I know, I would finish this in three days and hence this review.
From the start let me please say what a treatise it is! The story starts with Shahbaz Taseer telling us about his father’s assassination by his own bodyguard, one who had sworn to protect him, and one who reneged on his oath, and fired not one or two but twenty seven bullets thus killing the man. And then, the family was left battered and grieving. As they struggled to control their dwindling business, and were able to bring things to normal, their world was shaken once again only seven months later when Shahbaz got kidnapped for ransom. He talks about his life in captivity in detail, about the physical and mental torture he went through and the kind of life he had to live in (Pakistan) FATA, Afghanistan and again in (Pakistan) Balochistan.
The book gives a first-hand account of all the happenings from the day he was kidnapped to the day he walked free and reached his home in Lahore. There are high and low moments and Shahbaz makes no effort to hide his feelings as he writes about his experiences, the near death experiences that he went through, the drone strike that almost killed him, the ransom call he was forced to make to his mother, of being videotaped while going through physical torture, of being humiliated, of his captors demeaning behavior, of eating goat fat and bread daily for a year, of trying to negotiate his release, of making friends with his captors, listening to Manchester United matches on a smuggled radio with his captors, of teaching Urdu to his captors children, of getting pitied on by his captor’s mother in law, of befriending his guard. Boy what a great read it is. It was like watching an action movie, only that my imagination let me play the scenes in my mind. The language is powerful and reaches out to the reader, the lines meaningful. His ordeal is almost unbelievable. It gets a five stars rating from me. If one day they decide to make a movie out of it, it will be a super hit.
My favorite line: “I am not made of a wood that burns easily!”