PESHAWAR: Khan Mohammad, an Afghan refugee from Kabul, currently staying in the Azakhel Afghan Refugee camp in Nowshera, has been waiting to meet his two missing sons for the past seven years.
A labourer in a brick kiln, Khan returned home one day to be told by his family that his three sons had gone missing.
His sons, Zafar who was eight-year-old, Ghafoor who was 10-year-old and the two-year-old Khushdil, left their home in the afternoon seven years ago, when their father went to work, and never returned.
He told The Express Tribune that he has not left any stone unturned to locate his sons and after a search of four months managed to locate his youngest son, Khushdil, from the General Bus Stand in Peshawar, who was taken in by the ticketing clerk.
He said that he has been living in Pakistan for the past 22 years and has spent most of his time in the country as a refugee in the Azakhel refugee camp. “My whole world was torn apart after hearing the news of my sons,” Khan said.
Khan does not remember the exact date his sons went missing, and with trembling hands produced a newspaper cutting without any dates, saying that the Azkhel police were trying to find his missing sons.
He had been living alone with his sons, as their mother had died. There was no one to take care of them, which is why, he said, they went missing.
After his youngest son’s recovery, he tried to extract information from him about the whereabouts of his brothers. “But how can a two-year-old remember what happened?”
He added, “My sons will be grown up boys by now, but God alone knows where they are.”
He said that he has searched for his boys in Teri Mengal area of Parachinar in the Kurram Agency to Anarkali Bazaar in Lahore; he has roamed
every street in Peshawar, Mardan, Rawalpindi, Jhelum, Gujjar Khan and Nowshera, in the hopes of locating his sons, but nothing.
“I also got Radio Pakistan to broadcast a message for me in the hopes that someone will hear me, but nothing happened,” he said.
He said that he was dying of pain after failing to find his children, adding that police did nothing after he registered his complaint.
Khan’s misfortunes did not end here. After the floods in July he lost everything and is now living in a tent made out of jute sheets near Grand Trunk Road in the Azakhel area of Nowshera district.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 5th, 2010.
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