Khalid Bilal Qureshi didn’t have to travel all the way to the United States to find the American dream – it was just across the border in Afghanistan.
But his search for a bright future ultimately landed him in prison.
Khalid got a job in an American company across the border on April 17, 2008 as a technician and also received certificates of appreciation for his performance twice by the US Army Corps of Engineers, his wife Naseem Bilal told The Express Tribune.
Naseem, a resident of Mohallah Kacha Gali Ghazi, said that on April 19, 2011, officials of Afghan intelligence agency, the National Directorate of Security (NDS), arrested him from the Shorabak Lashkar area, in Afghanistan, on the basis of statements of another detained person.
“My husband did not even understand the language of the documents, but the officials got his thumb impression at gunpoint,” said Naseem with tears rolling down her cheeks.
On the basis of those documents, the Afghan government sentenced him to 16 years in jail.
“He is in a prison in Lashkar Gah, in Helmand province of Afghanistan,” she said.
Naseem said Afghan intelligence officials had arrested eight people a year ago and later released three of them but her husband is still behind bars. “One Pakistani, one Nepalese and three Afghans are also among those detained.”
In a choked voice, Naseem narrated the painful and testing times she has been facing and the agony of not knowing how her husband is being treated.
“I live in a rented house with three kids. Arranging rent of Rs3,000 per month is becoming difficult,” Naseem said.
Khalid’s elder brother, Anwar Ahmad Qureshi, said the family had also requested the Pakistani embassy in Afghanistan for help; but to no avail.
Just 10, Khalid’s daughter Kiran is aware of her father’s predicament. “I appeal to the government to make efforts for the release of my father from the Afghan jail.”
Published in The Express Tribune, March 18th, 2012.