KARACHI: For Sialkot’s Khuzaima Naseer, Germany was a dream destination. However, the young man’s European dream ended in despair and tragedy on November 4.
Khuzaima, 24, died of bone cancer in Cologne within two years of arriving in Germany. He was shot in the leg en route to Europe on the illegal migrants’ trail. The youngster was laid to rest in a graveyard in Daska on Wednesday after his body arrived from Cologne.
Khuzaima, son of Muhammad Naseer, used to run a ready-made garments shop in Daska. He left Pakistan for Germany on August 8, 2015 in search of a better future with just Rs35,000 in his pocket –an amount that he borrowed from his mother.
He travelled illegally through several countries, including Iran where border guards shot him as his group of migrants was trying to cross into Turkey.
Five months after he landed in Germany following a torrid journey, he was hospitalised twice in Cologne with high fever. Three months later, he learnt about the cancer spreading in his body.
Unfulfilled wish of the dying man
Khuzaima, according to the German news service Deutsche Welle (DW), battled bone cancer for almost eight months. His family told the DW he was diagnosed with the illness after he applied for asylum in Germany. His condition deteriorated a few days ago and he breathed his last. The body was brought back by one of his friends, Umar, who also lives in Germany.
His family said Khuzaima had been insisting on returning to Pakistan for the past few days as he feared he would die soon and did not want to return to his homeland packed in a coffin.
On October 31, doctors stopped his treatment, saying his illness was at an incurable stage. He was only being given painkillers.
Doctors had also told him that he would not be able to travel long distance. Even then, he was issued a new passport on emergency basis so that he could go back to his family in Pakistan.
His ticket was confirmed for November 1 but was cancelled as he was unable to travel given his end-stage cancer. A German doctor and a Pakistan man were to travel with him. Khuzaima wanted to spend his last few days with his parents.
“Even an hour would do,” the deceased was quoted as saying by different sources. Some arrangements were also made to invite his mother to Germany but nothing worked out in the end. None of his family members were at his bedside when he breathed his last.
His funeral was held in his hometown, where a large number of people from his village attended his burial. While speaking to The Express Tribune, Pakistan’s Ambassador to Germany Jauhar Saleem said he was extremely saddened by Khuzaima’s tragic death.
He said incidents like these underlined the need for cautioning our people against human traffickers who ensnare innocent Pakistanis promising glorious opportunities overseas for illegal entrants and put them in harm’s way.
“Germany has not been offering asylum to Pakistanis. Those desirous of working in Europe should adopt the legally available channels, if they have the required skills.
“There is hardly any demand for unskilled, lesser educated workers who do not have a regular work permit. As such, the media needs to promote this information so that innocent Pakistanis do not fall into the trap of unscrupulous human traffickers,” he said.
Pakistan Embassy tries to help such people to all extents possible, he said. “Every month, we receive many cases of asylum seekers desiring to go back voluntarily after living through the challenges and not finding any worthwhile opportunities.”
Khuzaima’s story is a wakeup call for thousands of other Pakistanis who aspire to move to Europe for better social and economic prospects.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 11th, 2016.