The president of Thul Hindu Panchayat, Ramesh Lal, and two other men were released by their kidnappers early Thursday near Mian jo Goth in Shikarpur district.
Lal had been kidnapped with the general secretary of rice millers association in Thul, Ashok Kumar, trader Hari Das and driver Babu Lashari, on July 12 near Khairpur when they were returning home after a visit to Karachi.
While talking to The Express Tribune, Lal said that the kidnappers took them to a dense forest. “At nights we walked,” he said. “But in the day we hid at different places.”
He said that the kidnappers behaved relatively decently with them. “At times when we didn’t want to eat they forced us to saying that we had to live here for two months and if we didn’t eat we would not be able to walk.”
Lal said that after President Asif Ali Zardari took notice of the kidnapping the police arrested the kidnappers’ relatives to pressurise them. “This is why we were released,” he said. But The Express Tribune learnt that ransom was paid as well before the men were released.
On the day of their release, the men were blindfolded left on the road near Mian Jo Goth in Shikarpur district, said Lal. “We went to my friend’s house in the nearby town of Mubarakpur and contacted the Thul DSP Ghulam Murtaza Mirani,” he said. “DSP Mirani came to Mubarakpur and escorted us back to Thul.” Sardar Zulfiqar Sarki and former MPA Dr Suhrab Sarki played a vital role in our release, he added.
The Express Tribune tried to contact Khairpur SSP Irfan Baloch but despite repeated calls and messages he didn’t respond. The mobile phones of Sardar Sarki and former MPA Dr Suhrab Sarki were switched off.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2012.