Who is to look after the vulnerable?

Betrayed by family, man recounts his plight


Rana Tanveer June 24, 2015
Betrayed by family, man recounts his plight. PHOTO: FILE

LAHORE: Muhammad Ashraf is the lone survivor from his eight-member family. His mother and five siblings were shot and killed by his father in Kukranwala village, Toba Tek Singh, in 1989. He was later convicted and hanged for the crime. 

Talking to The Express Tribune, Ashraf said his plight did not end there. He said one of his relatives later tricked him into handing over his property to him and got him implicated in a false case. He said he spent 10 years in prison before he was acquitted of the charges.

“I was 10 when my mother and five siblings were killed by my father and his paramour,” he said. He said they were later arrested by the Pir Mehal police. He recalled that his father was hanged on January 19, 2001. He said his accomplice was on death row but had recently been moved to a mental asylum in Lahore.

He said after the incident he started living with his maternal uncles in Mamu Kanjan. “They made me quit school and look after their cattle,” he said.  “One of my uncles was pursuing the case. He did not let me know about the execution,” he said. Ashraf said before the date of the execution one of his uncles took him to Bhai Pheru to arrange a job for him in a spinning mill. “I was told about the execution after they had already buried him,” he said.

Ashraf said he had once asked his maternal uncle if they could forgive his father. “He got angry with me for broaching the topic,” he said.

He said his father had owned about 50 kanal agricultural land. “My uncles managed the plot till his [father’s] execution,” he said. The land was transferred in Ashraf’s name a few months after the execution. However, he said he had decided to stay away from the village because it brought back memories of days spent together with his mother and siblings.

Ashraf said one of his relatives who owned some land near the village of his maternal uncles, where he had relocated in 1989, agreed to exchange it with him.

In 2002, he said he gave a power of attorney for his plot to the relative. Instead of meeting his end of the deal, the relative implicated Ashraf in a false dacoity and murder incident. “I was arrested by police and was later sentenced to death by a judge,” he said. Ashraf said after having spent 10 years in prison he was found innocent and acquitted by the Lahore High Court in 2012.

Now, Ashraf said he was living by himself in a Faisalabad village where he had found employment as a farm labourer. He said on the advice of some educated people in the area he had sent requests for assistance with finding a better job to the president, the prime minister, the Punjab chief minister and the governor but he was yet to receive a response.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 24th, 2015.

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