On July 7, Fareed Habib, left his home in Western Karachi’s Saeedabad neighbourhood for work but never returned.
Habib’s family fears the worst because, since then, they have not heard any news about his whereabouts and their agony is only aggravated by the fact that 18 people were killed in the city that day.
“We have been observing a trend of missing persons in the city since the deadly wave of violence of July 2010. Some of them have been reported to our unit as well,” Citizens Police Liaison Committee (CPLC) chief Ahmed Chinoy told The Express Tribune.
Fareed, 22, lived in a small house on Darya Khan Road with his six brothers and made a living by repairing generators. He would often step out of the house to find work in the scrap markets in Ranchore Lines and Sher Shah Colony.
“We check with public hospitals and the city’s main morgues daily,” says Fareed’s brother Ayaz. And every day as they leave a morgue without his body, they hold on to that glimmer of hope and continue their daily rounds.
The family has made 500 photocopies of posters bearing Fareed’s photograph, says another brother Sikandar, which they have put up at walls and small shops. “We’ve even put them up in public buses in the hope that maybe someone can identify him.”
Human Rights Commission of Pakistan’s (HRCP) Abdul Hai also says the role of police in solving such cases has been dismal and this lack of action discourages most people from reporting such matters to the police.
It was for this reason that Fareed’s family finally sought police help on July 22 and reported his disappearance to the Chakiwara Police Station. But SHO Yousuf Baloch refused to acknowledge that such a case had been registered until a copy of the report was dictated to him.
“Even if he is not alive, at least [they] should [be able to] get his body,” says Sikander, as he broke down in tears.
The CPLC’s Chinoy says there are numerous places in Karachi where a body can be dumped without it ever being discovered by the authorities. He cites cases when decomposed bodies, half eaten by animals, have been discovered in bushes. “This city is a big jungle. Any criminal can get away with murder by dumping the body in some isolated area,” he says.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 1st, 2011.
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