Ambitious Pakistani lands in Afghan jail

Published: March 18, 2012

Khalid Bilal Qureshi, who worked for a US firm in Afghanistan, has been sentenced to 16 years. PHOTO: FILE

PESHAWAR: 

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.

on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook

Reader Comments (28)

  • AK
    Mar 18, 2012 - 10:47AM

    I appreciate Express Tribune’effort in highlighting this matter and request the concern government officials to take concrete action on this and bring him back to Pakistan ASAP.

    Recommend

  • Sahibzada Shabir
    Mar 18, 2012 - 11:04AM

    Our government should help all Pakistanis detained other countries including this person

    Recommend

  • maz3tt
    Mar 18, 2012 - 11:23AM

    I am sorry to say to the child that this government will have no regards for you what’s so ever, The government is here on their own agendas and that’s is their one and only focus. nothing else.

    Recommend

  • Mar 18, 2012 - 12:57PM

    Vienna,March 18,2012
    I join in the appeal to his hiding coward employers to to come into
    the open to help the family.After all he was only involved in implementing
    orders.Suicide boys die for nothing. Prisonmen of course get fed in
    prisons. The employers should at least take care of the family to use
    the kids as assets of tomorrow.All in the name of defending the sovereign
    Pakistan Paaindabad.
    Taravadu Taranga Trust for Media Monitoring TTTMM India
    –Kulamarva Balakrishna

    Recommend

  • Hafiz Shah Ali
    Mar 18, 2012 - 12:57PM

    Government of Pakistan wake up. Remember overseas Pakistani send over $18 billion in remittance. If he has committed a crime,he should be punished

    Recommend

  • non conformist
    Mar 18, 2012 - 1:07PM

    Our people believes that if they will reach America then their dreams will come true, but they does not know the other side of the picture. Every Muslim is anticipated as terrorist there and in general, every expatriate is considered as second class citizen. People does not know if they will work hard here and bear as much difficulties as in abroad , can earn more than they get there.

    Recommend

  • WB
    Mar 18, 2012 - 1:50PM

    @non conformist: bhai jan, read the story first, he did not reach America but Afghanistan. I bet if U.S. gives you a visa, you’ll be jumping with joy!!

    Recommend

  • Mar 18, 2012 - 2:54PM

    NDS, arrested him from the Shorabak
    Lashkar area, in Afghanistan, on the
    basis of statements of another
    detained person.detained person.

    @ET: It still does not say on what charges was he arrested. Please be clear when reporting a news story.

    Btw, Shorabak is not in Lashkar Gah. Shorabak is a seperate district of Helmand while LashkarGah is it’s capital.

    Recommend

  • ZYX
    Mar 18, 2012 - 4:18PM

    Being a Pakistani citizen comes with lots of risks….if you live in Pakistan you may get picked up and sold by the govt to foreign agencies who’ll claim you’re the next underwear bomber..and if you’re abroad and get get mistreated, nobody from our government will stand for your rights. Basically, we’re even worse off than being on our own.

    Recommend

  • Salman
    Mar 18, 2012 - 4:23PM

    I think Pakistan now must consider whether to keep Afghan refuges in our country any more or not. Afghanistan is now completly acting on the agenda of other countries (name is not hard to predict). There is nothing wrong in getting a job in any country in the world but Afghanistan is acting insane Pakistan must kick them out now. It is going to have good impact or our economy as well.

    Recommend

  • sindani
    Mar 18, 2012 - 4:26PM

    our government should get our person out of afghanistan

    Recommend

  • Rafaqat
    Mar 18, 2012 - 5:11PM

    This person was mad to go to afghanistan in the first place. Did he not know what he was putting himself and his family through ?

    There are severe limits to how Pak Govt can help anyone in afghanistan. Perhaps we should tell the afghans that if they dont change their behaviour, we will send millions of afghans back home sooner than they think.

    Recommend

  • wahab
    Mar 18, 2012 - 5:15PM

    WHats pakistan embassy in afghanistan doing? If he has committed a crime, he should have a public trial and details should come out in media.. family should be allowed to meet him

    Recommend

  • vaqas
    Mar 18, 2012 - 5:18PM

    To say the least our government should start owning up to its citizens. For better or for worse. And quite frankly i have absolutely no clue as to why we as a country are so interested in afghanistan in the first place. They dont like us, which they continualy express openly and have been since our birth. People talk of them as our muslim brethren, but they dont want to be brothers! They dont give two hoots about us and our agenda. Some more people with delusions of grandiosity talk of a great muslim country which includes afghanistan and many central asian countries as provinces in it, with pakistan at its helm. Guys our own little country is crumbling! We have much to do to save our own little sliver of land from extinction! Lets focus on that. Forget afghanistan. Forget kashmir too for that matter. They dont want us either. Just focus on our own country. Lets make it a better place so that khalid bilal qureshi does not have to leave in search of better prospects.Recommend

  • Mar 18, 2012 - 6:20PM

    @Rafaqat:

    Perhaps we should tell the afghans that if they dont change their behaviour, we will send millions of afghans back home sooner than they think.

    Bluffing. You have been saying this since 1989. :-D

    Recommend

  • Pollack
    Mar 18, 2012 - 8:53PM

    Afghans don’t particularly like Pakistanis and I think rational Pakistanis understand the reason behind that dislike even though both are “brothers in Islam”. Not sure if the Pakistani media reported on what happened to Pakistanis in Afghanistan who were caught by the northern alliance after the fall of the Taliban.

    Recommend

  • Ashvinn
    Mar 18, 2012 - 9:26PM

    What is your ambassador doing , what About difaepakistan council . Finally a leftist newspaper like ET had to highlight the plight of this family.good work ET, one more thing track down the Pakistani company which hired him for this job…………….maybe you should pursue the case with your ambassador in afghanistan

    Recommend

  • WoW
    Mar 19, 2012 - 12:30AM

    The only thing that comes to my mind is – poetic justice.

    Recommend

  • Hassan
    Mar 19, 2012 - 4:32AM

    Thanks ET for highlighting the news and please carry on giving it space on your page until someone in Pakistani Govt do somthing about it. Your kind act will be appreciated. Thanks.

    Recommend

  • MarkH
    Mar 19, 2012 - 5:51AM

    I don’t know who’s a criminal or not in it since it seems like one of the biggest factors but at the same time has the most vague details… Regardless, yeah, if something is happening Pakistan is supposed to take some political initiative. They’re not going to call you and tell you to act like your people matter to you. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the more sadistic ones aren’t laughing about how easy it was.

    Recommend

  • Nadeem Shah
    Mar 19, 2012 - 9:43AM

    @non conformist:
    Thats nonsense, I have been here for 25 years and I have never felt afraid or different, please stop spreading lies. In fact Pakistan has more problems like these between shia and sunni and ahmadi and everyone blowing up each others mosques.

    No such problem in the US, I have never been harrassed as there are strict laws against discrimmination, and the US follows its laws very closely, not like Pakistan where an MNA can throw acid on a girls face and no one can arrest him.

    Recommend

  • Nadeem Shah
    Mar 19, 2012 - 9:45AM

    @Afghan Karachite:
    we dont want you, but you have no shame and continue hiding in our country….

    Recommend

  • Mar 19, 2012 - 2:25PM

    @Nadeem Shah

    Hiding? Just come to Al-Asif and see; WE rule YOUR country here.

    Recommend

  • Fahad Mirza
    Mar 19, 2012 - 5:15PM

    @Afghan Karachite:
    Dont feel too comfortable, the anger is slowly rising and our people take time to react but believe me when they do, it wont be nice for you and your people. Sooner or later there will be action, whether this administration or the next, but if you get too big for your boots, the boot will come down on your people, so I would not push your luck too much, the Army is fierce and they will not be polite.

    Recommend

  • Mahwish
    Mar 20, 2012 - 9:23AM

    @Afghan Karachite: Dear brother I think you did not read the story carefully, I know that Shorabak and Lashkar Gah are different places.I mentioned in the story that Bilal was arrested from Shorabak Lashkar area, in Afghanistan, and now presently he is in prison in Lashkar Gah, in Helmand province of Afghanistan.

    Recommend

  • Mar 20, 2012 - 10:36AM

    @Mahwish:

    I did read the whole story. Still, there is no such a place called Shorabak Lashkar in the entire Helmand province, it’s only Shorabak. The capital is Lashkar Gah.

    Recommend

  • Nadeem Shah
    Mar 21, 2012 - 12:06AM

    @Afghan Karachite:
    The only thing you rule are the garbage dumps. I did not wish to sound mean but your arrogance was offensive. Time for a reality check for you.

    You bring no education, no skill, no wealth, just misery, disease, poverty, a long line of mouths to feed, crime, drugs and on top of that you have the temerity to declare that somehow you rule our decent nation, no you do not rule it, you are crime lords and criminals who are taking advantage of our decent people and soft society, but dont let it fool you, our people can be very forgiving, but they have limits, and the day the limit is crossed, you will wake up in a very harsh and brutal way.

    I hope your words stir up my countrymen who are still asleep and allow outsiders and foreigners to come into our nation and destroy our cities, we also have illegals from India, Bangladesh, Burma, Iran, Somalia, Iraq, Kurds, and of course the worst are the Afghans, bringing crime, and drugs with them. Don’t worry the tide will turn and when it does, you will either become a productive member of Pakistani society or you will be booted back to Afghanistan where you will be free to live like an uncivilized brute.

    Recommend

  • Mahwish
    Mar 21, 2012 - 2:36PM

    @Afghan Karachite
    OK Thanks

    Recommend

More in World