KARACHI: Fifty-seven-year old Yasmeen Sultana has lost her son, brother and brother-in-law to target killings all in one year. Her three-bedroom house in Orangi Town has hosted three funerals.
“My brother was not a member of any political or sectarian party,” cries her daughter, Shadab. “He was killed just because he was a Shia.”
Yasmeen’s eldest son, Fayyaz Hussain Naqvi, was killed in another round of target killings on Tuesday. He was shot by two men on motorcycles while he was on his way home from work. According to witnesses, he was shot from a close range.
“He died at the gate of the hospital,” says his friend, Junaid, who had accompanied the body in the ambulance.
Fayyaz was the 11th victim of sectarian target killings in two months, according to police records. The Jafferia Alliance of Pakistan put the number at 23.
Fayyaz was only 24 years old and the lone breadwinner of the family. He had six siblings who all go to school. The youngest of the family, Zehra, is a class III student.
According to Fayyaz’s sisters, Yasmeen has stopped eating and cries herself to sleep every night. “We have asked people not to visit us, not even to give us their condolences, because mother gets extremely upset when someone mentions him,” says Shadab.
Yasmeen lost her brother, Iqbal Hussain, in another spate of killings in June last year. “We mourned the death of our uncle on his first death anniversary just two weeks ago,” says Shadab. “The memory of his death was still fresh in our minds when we received Fayyaz’s body on Tuesday.”
Rizwan Hussain, Yasmeen’s brother-in-law, was also killed in a similar shoot-out in April last year.
“We do not want help from anyone,” claims Syeda Fatima, Fayyaz’s younger sister. “If anyone wants to help us, they should execute the killers.” Syeda alleges the killers are freely roaming the streets with the support of the police. Many people saw the killers firing at Fayyaz, but no one bothered to stop them, she says. “They are killing all the young men of our families,” she says.
Yasmeen’s family is still mourning the death of their brother and, at the same time, fears the death of other members their family.
The day he died, Shadab says she had ironed his clothes that he had to wear to work the next day. “I am so afraid to touch them now.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 10th, 2010.
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