Shamsul Anwar’s plan to con thousands by gaining sympathies failed when he was busted.
He was sent on a seven-day physical remand to the Westridge police on Thursday after he was presented before a magistrate.
The story of his daughter’s abduction was not newly minted, as Anwar has been portraying himself as a victim of terrorism since 2010.
However, when his daughter Madina Anwar eloped to Swabi to marry her ex-fiancé, Anwar decided to take advantage of the situation.
But for this purpose, he needed to gain people’s sympathies, for which he needed a story to hit the nail at the right place.
Therefore he decided to present himself as a hero before the media, a hero who was being victimised for saving people’s lives. So he claimed his daughter had been kidnapped by the same terrorists who had earlier kidnapped his two sons and slaughtered one of them.
The publication of this account in a national English newspaper gave credence to his story, with people flocking to help him out.
He also portrayed himself as a hero who had thwarted a terrorist attack at a mosque in Rawalpindi in 2001, during which he received three bullets. This, he claimed, was the ‘reason for his miseries’, as the terrorists were ‘punishing him for his bravery’.
He also said the terrorists had injected intoxicating medicines to one of his son, causing him to become a patient of blood cancer.
“Mein buhat mushkil mein hun, kuch madad karein meri (I am in great distress, please help me),” was how he gained people’s attention. “I have sold my house, my taxi and mortgaged my van for my son’s treatment. I don’t have enough money to save my daughter now,” he cried.
To prove the authenticity of his narrative, he would also show a newspaper cutting from an Urdu daily report narrating his ‘brave’ actions. His ‘miseries’ and ‘brave’ actions gathered him Rs900,000 in donations. However the bank account, Deputy Superintendent of Cantonment Police told The Express Tribune, has been frozen.
*Edited by Usama Zafar
Clarification: The Express Tribune earlier also made the mistake of reporting a false story based on an interview with Shamsul Anwar on December 31, 2010.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 13th, 2012.