ABBOTABAD: After 10 years of being kidnapped and forced to beg, 45-year-old Nazeer Hussain finally reunited with his family here on Sunday. The court of duty magistrate, on the request of his cousins, permitted them to take him home.
According to his cousins Maheel and Allah Waraya, 2.5-feet-tall Hussain, who is unable to walk, went missing some 10 years back from his native village Raees Qalandar Bux in Shikarpur, Sindh. They searched for him and lodged a report with the Mirpur Police Station but when the police failed to find any clue as to his ware bouts, his family presumed him to be dead. His mother who awaited his return for long died last year.
His cousins told the police that they were on an excursion tour to Naran with their saint Pir Sajid Hussain Shah on Saturday when they saw Hussain begging at the entrance of the Ayub Medical Complex. A woman who later introduced herself as Sonia and a relative of Hussain also accompanied him there.
His cousins claimed that Hussain not only recognised them but was elated upon seeing them. However, the woman sitting beside him tried to take him away forcibly but they took him to the police station. While Sonia and her accomplice Abba Jatt, who would bring him to the gate of Ayub Medical Complex daily from Mansehra to beg, claimed that they had taken the custody of Hussain from a court as he was homeless. However, they were unable to produce any documentary proof of their claim.
Hussain, who also has some difficulty in speaking, told his relatives in his native Sindhi language that a group of professional beggars kidnapped him from the village where he was sitting outside the house. They later sold him to Sonia who made him to beg in different areas of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. His cousins quoted Nazeer as saying that during the summers, he would beg in Abbottabad and Mansehra, while during winters the group used to take him to Punjab. He also accused his captors for subjecting him to torture and keeping him under chains in a tent during the night.
The police later produced him before the court of duty magistrate who, on the request and sureties by his cousins, allowed them to take Hussain with them.
Some influential people and a lawyer also jumped in to protect Sonia, Abba Jatt and their group for unknown reasons. Deputy Superintendent of Police Headquarter Raja Abdul Saboor said the police will investigate every angle of the case and take the culprits to task. He added that two beggars have been arrested and an inquiry under section 156/1 of the Pakistan Penal Code has been started.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 2nd, 2012.
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