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Lost to the World

A Memoir of Faith, Family, and Five Years in Terrorist Captivity

Shahbaz Taseer


Lost to the World Download image

ISBN10: 0374192227
ISBN13: 9780374192228


288 Pages



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In late August 2011, Shahbaz Taseer was driving to his office in Lahore when he was dragged from his car at gunpoint and kidnapped by members of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), a Taliban-affiliated Uzbek terrorist group. Shahbaz’s father, the late Pakistani governor, had recently been assassinated. His crime: speaking in support of a Christian woman who had been accused of blasphemy and sentenced to death. Though Taseer himself wasn’t much interested in politics, he was somewhat of a public figure, and he represented a more tolerant, internationally connected Pakistan that the IMU despised.

What followed was nearly five years of torture and harrowing danger while Taseer was held captive, his fate determined by the infighting of the IMU, the Taliban, and ISIS. Lost to the World is his memoir of that time—a story of extraordinary sorrow but also of goodness and faith. While deeply dramatic, this tale is also comedic; for Taseer, humor, as much as the Koran, provided a light by which to see his own humanity, even under the most inhumane conditions, and to find a way back to his family.

In a time when Western leaders use fear-mongering rhetoric to paint all followers of Islam as dangerous fundamentalists, Lost to the World illustrates the chasm between Muslim terrorists and ordinary Muslim citizens, and how terrorist organizations gain strength from the war on terror.


Praise for Lost to the World

“What a book. Lost to the World is a survival narrative unlike any other. In this unforgettable page-turner, true-life miracles and high-tech death fall from the sky. Our hero endures medieval torments, witnesses acts of sudden kindness, and escapes one surreal prison and battlefield after another. Above all, Shahbaz Taseer’s account of his captivity and liberation is, like Papillon and Unbroken, a deeply moving testament to the triumph of the human spirit.”—Héctor Tobar, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Deep Down Dark

“Shahbaz Taseer draws you into his endless imprisonment. I was afraid of turning the page, afraid of what lay ahead. I found myself oscillating between tears and laughter. This memoir is a complete tour de force of emotions. I am convinced that it was Taseer’s compassion and resilience that kept him alive and that he was guided by the faith he had in his family and the courage instilled in him by his father.”—Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, Academy Award–winning filmmaker and journalist

"Taseer’s story is both chilling and infused with bravery and wisdom. This testament to the resilience of the human spirit will inspire any reader."Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads


Read an Excerpt


The first thing that struck me was the smell.

I found myself alone in a mud-walled room with straw and animal feces scattered across the dirt floor. My hands and feet were bound with metal cuffs. It was dark; what little light...

About the author

Shahbaz Taseer

Shahbaz Taseer is a Pakistani businessman and the son of the late governor of Punjab, Pakistan. Taseer was held in captivity for almost five years and was recovered from Kuchlak, Balochistan, on March 8, 2016. His kidnapping was referred to by The Guardian as one of the highest-profile kidnappings in Pakistan.

Shahbaz Taseer

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