SUKKUR: For 10-year-old Arif, the journey he made two years back was very different from the one he made this time.
Two years ago when he boarded a stationary pickup from his village Janwari, near Khairpur, it was out of fun. But two days ago, when he boarded the Edhi bus, it was in search of his family he wished to be with before Eid.
Arif was playing with his friends and used the pickup as a hiding spot. He hid behind the hay bales when the vehicle started moving. He was scared and did not make any noise and was taken to Hyderabad. “I was hiding behind the hay bales, when the driver found me and asked me about my whereabouts. The man then handed me over to the Edhi officials, who sent me to their centre in Karachi,” he recalled after meeting his family in Khairpur.
The Edhi bus carrying 50 children aims to travel across Pakistan making stops at different stations in hope to find the families before. PHOTO: EXPRESS
The Edhi bus carrying 50 children, which started its journey from Karachi on July 12, aims to travel across Pakistan making stops at different stations in hope to find the families of the boys before Eid.
Edhi Center’s zonal in charge Sukkur Mohammad Urs Magsi told The Express Tribune that 50 children have been sent from the Karachi Edhi shelter home out of which six belong to Sindh, 30 of them are from Punjab and seven each from Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
Giving details of their first stops in Sindh, he said that four out of the six children belonging to the province were handed over to their families, while two left of them, who constantly kept changing their statements, were still with the authorities
Regarding the four children who were able to unite with their families Magsi said that Suhrab son of Abdul Qudoos was handed over to his parents in Naushahro Feroze, while Sohail son of Liaqat Ali was handed over to his family in Mirpur Mathelo. Another child Ali Abbas met his parents in Karampur and Arif son of Ghulam Rasool united with his family in Khairpur.
The two other boys, he added were still with the Edhi authorities. “We took them to every locality in Rohri and Sukkur, but failed to find their parents. The boys will be kept here for 24 hours before they are sent back to Karachi in case no one contacts Edhi for them.
The Edhi bus after making a brief stopover at Hyderabad and Shaheed Benazeer Abad, reached Sukkur on July 13. Magsi said “the bus left for Rahim Yar Khan today (Sunday) morning, and will make stops at Bahwalpur, Multan, Faisalabad, Lahore, Gujranwala, Sialkot, Islamabad, Peshwar and Quetta, so as to ensure that, these boys meet their families.” Expressing hope, he said he was optimistic of the children reuniting with their families.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 15th, 2013.