KARACHI: The 37 days that Indrias Javed spent in captivity changed his life. He wakes up in the middle of the night imagining kicks and punches. He sees scrumptious food and remembers the water bottle and small slice of cake that he would get after 36 hours. He shudders at loud noises, refuses to leave his house and does not talk to strangers.
Javed and Issac Samson were kidnapped on February 29, when they were en route to their workplace – a Korean charity-run hospital in Orangi. Four men reportedly stopped the hospital vehicle asking them if they were Koreans. Even though they said no, the kidnappers took them hostage.
“They blindfolded us and put glasses over our eyes, then covered us with burqas. I think it was after a 40-minute drive that they stopped and led us inside a room,” said Javed. “We were chained, not allowed to bathe and they took us to the restroom after much pleading. We spent our days and nights praying to be rescued.”
Javed said his kidnappers wanted to kidnap the Koreans. “They said they took us away because we worked for them.”
Javed had a dramatic escape on April 6. That date is also Good Friday, when Christians commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The two men were being led on the back of a truck towards Northern Bypass but did not know their final destination. “During the ride I managed to untie my hands and remove my blindfold,” he said. “I freed Isaac and we decided to jump off the truck.” However, Isaac seemed frightened about jumping off for fear that the kidnappers would shoot him. Javed took the plunge, and jumped near Toll Plaza.
“I immediately went to the security officials at the plaza and informed them about the truck but they did not listen and thought I was mad. I don’t blame them because I was dirty and was sporting a long unkempt beard,” he recalled.
Javed moved to the police officers standing ahead. “They gave orders to their teams but no one could find that truck. It simply vanished and Isaac was gone,” he tearfully said. “I won’t go back to the hospital to work. I need to be alive for my wife and two children.”
At Isaac Samson’s house, his teary-eyed mother Surraya keeps eyeing the door, wishing that he would walk in.
According to Samson’s father Younis, when Indrias came back home the police wrongly informed them that it was their son who had reached the police station. “I was so heartbroken that I could not move from the bed for the next two days when I found out that Isaac was still with the kidnappers.”
The family does not understand the motive for the kidnapping since there have been no ransom demands. “People said that the kidnappers were demanding Rs1.5 to Rs2 million from the Korean doctors, but they are all mum on that issue. In fact they have stopped coming to the hospital.”
Younis says his son worked at the hospital so he could do charity work while studying for his bachelor’s degree, a requisite for becoming a pastor.
“He wanted to become a pastor since he was a child. After coming back from the hospital, he would teach children in the neighbourhood about the Bible.”
His mother remembers the day he was kidnapped. “He had forgotten to take his Bible with him to work and came back for it. That was the last glimpse I had, of him holding the Bible and leaving the house,” said Surraya.
She wrote to the Sindh governor’s wife on Mother’s Day, hoping that she would understand her pain. “She did not reply, and neither did the officials we have written to.” Younis interrupted his wife. “The officials can help people from other parts of the country that are in the captivity of Somali pirates, but they can’t help their own local people, and especially minorities.”
Part of a pattern
Najeeb Danawalla from the Citizens-Police Liaison Committee, who is dealing with the case, cited a similar account and believes this is being done to terrorise minorities. “It seems the kidnappers’ motive is to terrorise the Christian community and scare foreigners into not working in the country.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 16th, 2012.
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