The Sirens of Sukkur

Liaquat Leghari April 19, 2010

SUKKUR: The men of Ghotki cannot resist Reshma.

She will call you and you will pick up the phone. She will want to talk to you about sweet nothings. She will be the sweetest thing in your day. She knows how you think. You cannot resist her. She will want to meet you. You will say yes. You will go. And then sweet Reshma will sweep in for the kill. Because Reshma does not exist.

She is a man and she will lure you to a deserted spot where her gang will be lying in wait. And then you will curse the day you ever heard her voice. Ilmuddin Meerani from Deharki is one such person who fell in love with ‘Reshma’ over the phone and ended up forking out several thousand rupees for his release. “A boy used to talk to me and pretend to be a girl,” confesses Meerani.

“She repeatedly asked me to come over for a dinner and I gave in after she persisted for several months.” Reshma invited him to meet her a few kilometres outside Kashmore. The rest, they say, is history.

Meerani isn’t the only man to have been fooled by this gang of kidnappers into dinner-and-date invitations. The victims have come from around district Ghotki and Kashmore where the gang has been active for quite a few years. But that is not all.

Some men have even trekked from the Punjab and Peshawar to come looking for Reshma. “Among the men we have recovered in the past three months, two of them belonged to Sahiwal,” reveals DPO Pervez Chandio.

The victims were called to Kashmore city, where someone met them and offered to take them to the katcha or swampy forest area where they claimed Reshma resided. Once they managed to take them to a deserted area, the kidnappers kept them as hostages. The masterminds have claimed that they brainwash their targets so effectively over the phone that the men are willing to do whatever they want and go wherever they say.

“When we fool people into believing that we are girls, they even send us mobile credit,” says one of the men accused of impersonating girls. “Once we start fooling someone, we distribute his number among our gang so that sometimes we tell him to talk to our sister or mother.” The kidnappers are also employing jobless girls, fear the police. Meerani, who has learned from his mistake the hard way, hopes that no more men will fall into this well-executed trap.

“Never respond to a missed call and never go to Kashmore on a girl’s bidding,” he warns. DPO Chandio also appealed to young men, addicted to talking on mobile phones for several hours, to refrain from going to Ghotki.

“If you have hooked up with someone and have developed a friendship with a girl, then please do not go anywhere far out to meet her and if she ever calls you to District Ghotki please inform the police,” he says. Just dial 15.

With writing by Hira Siddiqui


KAMRAN | 13 years ago | Reply gud job bro
Tehmina | 13 years ago | Reply I have lived half my life in Daharki and am very much aware of the famous incidents of Ghotki bandits. Often we used to travel on convoys to and fro from Sukkur to Daharki. Kashmore was famous for two things, accidents and decoitry. However, I find this recent scam very disturbing and amusing at the same time. I am partly sorry for the people who had to pay such a big price for a little fun, but for the most part I want to say "Serves you right!" to all the men who were having sweet fantasies about Reshma. What happened was due to their own foolishness alone.
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