Majid* was fortunate enough to see his family. But others from the Ahmadiyya community abducted by the Taliban are not.
Majid was in militants’ captivity for over six months at an unknown location in Miramshah tribal area. He was abducted from Sihala in December last year while on his way back home from his oil mills. His father, a billionaire, paid a hefty amount, at least Rs8 billion, to buy back his son’s life and freedom.
Not everyone survives. Colleagues of Inspector Rana Pervaiz, another person from the community, fear he may have died in militants’ captivity.
Pervaiz, mistaken for an Ahmadi property dealer Rana Tassaduq*, was kidnapped from Tarnol on the outskirts of Islamabad by militants from the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Punjab (Asmatullah Muyawia Group). The group had kidnapped Majid the same month.
“Currently, we do not know where he (pervaiz) is being kept, or even if he is alive,” said a senior police official.
Over the past few months, the Ahmadiyya community had been at the militants’ hit-list particularly for kidnappings for ransom.
“It appeared that their (militants’) only target were Ahmadis or personnel from the armed forces,” said a police official, who had been investigating the cases of kidnappings by militants from TTP-Punjab. He added that Muyawia was directly involved in these kidnappings.
Following the incidents, the Ahmadiyya Community Religious Centre in Islamabad issued alerts to its members warning them to stay on guard against kidnappings for ransom and extortions.
The local police’s helplessness and inefficacy against the militants have compelled Ahmadis to shift their businesses and families abroad. Fearing the militants, the incidents are not reported.
Islamabad police’s failure in recovering one of their own officers has added to the mistrust of the community.
In Pervaiz’s case, the police failed to rescue him despite using pressure tactics. In April this year, the police claimed to have arrested Sabghatullah Muyawia, the brother of Asmatullah. However, before showing his arrest they offered Asmatullah to trade his brother for Pervaiz, but the latter did not reply.
Asmatullah Muyawia was suspected to be the mastermind behind last year’s gun-and-bomb attack on Ahmadis’ places of worship in Lahore on May 28.
*Names have been changed to protect privacy
Published in The Express Tribune, June 10th, 2011.