KARACHI: There are times when Faiza Khanam has nightmares about her son walking away from her to a place from where he cannot find his way back.
On the night of August 23 her 13-year-old son Shahzeb Mansoor left his house in New Karachi never to return. For three days Faiza kept praying for his safety, fearing the worst because of the wave of violence that had gripped the city.
On August 26, her worst fears came true when Shahzeb’s chopped-up body wrapped in a white sheet with Edhi’s monogram, returned home on a stretcher. “A hand and both eyes were missing from my son’s body and there were several marks of torture,” Khanum said as she beat her chest. “I refused to accept it was him, but then I saw his belt,” Khanam said. Crying out loud, she said that when a parent dies you lose your past, when a child dies you lose your future.
She told The Express Tribune that her son’s body was found in a gunny bag near a sewerage line in New Karachi along with the body of his two friends. He had left with his friends that night, while his mother made his favourite food, aloo gosht, and waited for him to come home.
Shahzeb was a student of grade nine at the Government Boy’s Secondary School in New Karachi and the eldest among Faiza’s five children. Two of his sisters are hearing and speech impaired, while the other two live with their aunt because of financial constraints in their own household. Shahzeb would often take up small jobs to help his mother cope with finances.
Sitting at a corner of a sheet spread in her son’s room, she talks about how things used to be. “At least once a week I would walk him to school.
He would give me a hug, a kiss on the nose, another hug, and then run off to class while stopping briefly to wave before he disappeared from sight.”
Published in The Express Tribune, September 3rd, 2011.