The brother of Saud Memon, a merchant who owned the plot from where US journalist Daniel Pearl’s body was found, has gone missing.
Muhammad Afzal’s wife, Aisha, went public at the Karachi Press Club on Thursday, by saying that the security agencies picked him up and he has been missing since April 22. According to Aisha, men from the agencies took Afzal from his car near Madina Masjid in Mithadar after Maghrib prayers.
She said she received a phone call six days later. The caller told her that they picked up her husband for investigations and he would be released soon. An FIR was registered at the Mithadar police station on April 30.
“My husband does not belong to any political, religious or ethnic group,” she said. “Keeping a beard and offering prayers is now a crime in this society and every man who has a beard is considered a terrorist.”
One of Afzal’s brothers Mehmood was with Aisha at the press conference. “Our other brother, Saud Memon, was picked up by agencies in 2003,” he said. “He was dropped off near our home four years later, but he was severely tortured and beaten so he was hospitalised and survived for only a few days after.” The family fears Afzal will face a similar fate.
Afzal’s five children clung on to pictures of their father at the press conference, demanding his release.
At one time, Saud Memon was the first on the list of Pakistan’s most wanted and carried head money of Rs3 million. His name came to light when the police recovered Pearl’s remains in 2002. Memon was arrested in 2003, was kept at Guantanamo Bay for more than two years and was then handed over to the Pakistani authorities. At that time, the family lived in Nazimabad No 4’s Pakhtun-dominated Mujahid Colony.
In 2007, an unrecognisable and emaciated Memon was dropped off near his home in 2007 and died soon after at Liaquat hospital of tuberculosis and meningitis. He could not recognise anyone from his family and his brother told the Supreme Court then that he could not even speak, according to reports at the time.
At the time, Mahmood had denied that Saud had any links with the Pearl murder. He did admit, however, that his brother used to donate money to the Al-Akhtar and Al-Rashid trusts.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 10th, 2011.
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