Since the past month, children have been mysteriously disappearing from the provincial capital only to be found days later, dead and carrying suspicious incision marks on their bodies.
The growing trend has set off alarm bells in the police department, but officials say it would be premature to jump to conclusions.
The first such body was found on April 11 on Ring Road in the jurisdiction of Bhanamari police station. The remains of the four-year-old boy were badly decomposed; several fingers were missing while cuts were also visible on it. However, the case did not garner much attention as the child’s identity could not be ascertained and no one claimed the body either.
So, the police were able to keep the suspicious incident under wraps. According to the police, the remains were sent for an autopsy but doctors were only able to determine the cause of death; a blow to the head. Since the body had decomposed, nothing else could be ascertained.
Looking for answers
But that was not the end of it. In the last week of April, five-year-old Zikria went missing from Malangabad in the same police station’s jurisdiction.
Three days after his disappearance, Zikria’s father Farhad received a phone call from Yakatoot police asking him to come to the station. When the family arrived, they were told a child’s body was found in Akbarpura, Nowshera.
Nasim, Farhad’s brother, went to Akbarpura police station, where he was handed over Zikria’s body. According to Nasim, the child had a long cut on his abdomen which had been carefully stitched back. This made him suspicious that the boy’s organs might have been removed. But the police was quick to counter that by telling Nasim the boy had been raped and killed, while the surgery was performed by the doctors who did the post-mortem.
“When I reached the police station, another child was sitting there. They took me to identify Zikria’s body and I instantly noticed the long scar on his abdomen, but the police said doctors had done that,” Nasir told The Express Tribune. “They even spoke to the doctors to satisfy me. Later, Zikria’s body was sent to Khyber Medical College for another autopsy.”
According to Nasim, the boy was his brother’s only child. “Farhad sells boiled potatoes on a cart near his house. He had left Zikria alone for only a few minutes, when he returned the boy was missing.”
Nasim said Farhad recalls a man who kept offering chocolates to Zikria and thought he could be the kidnapper.
An investigation official of Akbarpura police told The Express Tribune via phone that Zikria’s body was found in Bara River after the mini-cyclone that hit the province last month. “The incision on the abdomen was made during post-mortem. The family’s suspicions are baseless,” he said.
The death of yet another child was reported from the jurisdiction of Yakatoot police station in the last week of April.
A five-year-old girl was found dead in a canal. The family thought she had drowned while bathing in the canal and buried the body silently.
Moreover, two boys from Javedabad – in the limits of Bhanamari police station – have also mysteriously disappeared this week. Muzamil, who is three and a half years old, was found alive from Achini, but the whereabouts of Jalal, 5, are not known. “I am a poor taxi driver, I don’t know where to look for my son,” said Aurangzeb, his father. Operations SSP Dr Mian Saeed told The Express Tribune, the disappearances of so many children have alarmed the police and they are investigating the matter. However, he maintained nothing about the nature of the incidents could be said without any evidence.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 9th, 2015.