Worrying, waiting for word about loved ones

“Someone please find my two sons. They are being held hostage by the terrorists. Is my father alive? My brother is missing.

Rana Tanveer May 28, 2010

“Someone please find my two sons. They are being held hostage by the terrorists. Is my father alive? My brother is missing and the police are not cooperating with me.”

These were some of the concerns raised by people whose loved ones were stranded in the Garhi Shahu siege on Friday.

Several people were wandering helplessly on the road trying to locate their relatives who were trapped inside the worship place during the shootout. Some of them tried to call at their relatives’ cell phones but to no avail. The police for security reasons cordoned off the entire area and did not let the people approach the site. Many lost their tempers and exchanged harsh words with the police in attempts to reach  the site. Kishwar Majeed, a 40-year-old woman, was crying for her two sons who were trapped inside the building.

Accompanied by another woman, Majeed kept running from one police official to another trying to know if her sons were alive. With tears in her eye, she approached The Express Tribune. She said that her sons, Fatehuddin and Rizwan Ahmed, regularly offered prayers on Friday at Darul Zikr, the attacked worship place. Her fears intensified with every other gunshot.

Furqan Ahmed, 25, reached the scene in search of his father, 65-year-old Khawaja Ahmed Hasan. He said his father was trapped inside and there was no way he could obtain any information about him. “I’m not even sure he is alive, they (pointing towards the law enforcement agencies’ officials) should at least update us on what is going on inside,” he said.  He said none of the officials were bothered about addressing the queries.

Mudassir Ahmed, 25, was waiting for his friend Kashif who had just arrived in Lahore in the morning and had accompanied him to the worship house to attend the Friday congregation. He said that Kashif had just entered the hall when firing started and he could not enter. He said that it had been four hours since he was trying to contact his friend on his cell phone but there was no response and he had no idea whether he was alive or dead.

Published in the Express Tribune, May 29th, 2010.


Zahid Sheikh | 13 years ago | Reply My heart goes out for the hapless victims of religious extremists. The Lahore terrorist act or sectarian violence -- whatever you name it -- has badly damaged the already not-too-good image of our dear homeland, the world over. The seeds of hatred sown against Ahmadis during the regimes of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Gen.Zia-ul-Haq must be uprooted with a strong hand. If you love Pakistan, please don't let this country slip into the hands of religious bigots. I think the first seed of sectarian/religious hatred was sown when it was declared that no non-Muslim can become a head of state. This discriminatory clause in the constitution should be abolished plus all other inequitable amendments which have led to the polarization of our society. All citizens should be treated as equal irrespective of their faith or sect. Is there not a single patriotic brave leader in our country who can end this schism?
Rida Khan | 13 years ago | Reply I am honestly very sorry about hearing this. These stories remind me of the very same tragedy that Pakistan faced when earthquack hit this nation few years back. There were massive tears. I am not saying that any Ahmadi or Sunni or Shia is better than one another. They are all equal and yes, being a human i should be part of you people's miseriliness. And i am very dearly sorry and pray that these people have survived. Ameen.
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