A man was reunited with his family 13 years after he was kidnapped.
According to police officials, Tanveer Ahmad who was allegedly kidnapped 13 years ago at the age of 16 years returned to Toba Tek Singh on Thursday. Ahmed told police officials that he had managed to escape his kidnappers and ran away from a factory a few days ago.
Ahmed escaped from a shoe factory in Balochistan a few days ago and boarded a bus to Toba Tek Singh. He went to the district police officer’s (DPO) office and told the police about his ordeal. “I asked them to help me find my family. I no longer know where they are,” he added.
Ahmed was a resident of Chak No 294GB near Toba Sadar. “They kidnapped me when I was 16. A group of them gagged me and took me away at night. When I woke up I didn’t know where I was but there was a room full of strangers,” he told police officials. Ahmed said that some of the other victims were as young as seven or eight years old.
“They would take us to a factory every day and then return to pick us in the evening. We were closely monitored and later they would lock all 14 of us in a room all night,” Ahmed told the DPO Ahsan Younas.
Ahmed said that the group was fed very little and that they were beaten often.
“We worked making shoes in a factory. During the evening they always kept us in a dark room and we never really saw their faces. There were four men who locked us up,” he added.
Ahmed told reporters that he had been working in the factory for over 12 years. “The first year they moved us around a lot until we were all sent to the factory,” he said. “Ahmed said that a few days ago, he somehow found himself unmonitored. I knew that if I was ever going to escape then it had to be now so I ran,” he said.
“I don’t know who the others were and the people kept changing but it was a fairly large operation. There were at least 13-14 people locked with me in the room every evening,” he said. Ahmed said that the shoe factory was located in a remote location. “It was in the middle of a barren desert. The place was not approachable by travellers or government functionaries. Hardly anyone ever came there,” he said. “Even the kidnappers left at night,” he added.
The DPO ordered the Sadar Police Station SHO to help Ahmed locate his family and also inquired into the details of the factory set up. “We are trying to expose the operation but we will have to confirm his story,” he added.
Consequently, Sadar SHO Bahar Husain Bhatti traced out Tanveer’s uncle Shaukat Ali and few other relatives. Six of Ahmed’s family members came to take him home and Ahmed was reunited with his family outside the DPO office.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 6th, 2011.