RAWALPINDI: The pain of disloyalty is visible in the eyes of Haji Muhammad Iqbal, 63. He lives with 18 other retirees in an old people’s home run by a trader at Benazir Bhutto Road.
Iqbal was everything for his wife and children as long as he transferred money into their accounts from Saudi Arabia. He did it for 27 years, but returned home after a snake bit him and doctors amputated his right leg to save his life. His children threw him out of his house and he wound up in the shelter home.
Iqbal has no expectations of seeing his children on Eid. “Will my children contact me on Eid? It would be a miracle if they do,” he said. He said his life lost meaning the day his children refused to take care of him and kicked him out. “I never thought my own family, for whom I had spent restless years in Saudi Arabia, would leave me alone,” Iqbal said.
Gul Muhammad’s story is no different. The wheelchair-bound 92-years-old has two sons and four daughters, all of whom are well settled, but none of whom have the time or space to house their father or even say hello on Eid. “Everyone will leave this world with empty hands. I’m just waiting,” he said. He has bought new clothes and shoes for Eid and hopes to enjoy a dessert or two on the day, but he would rather see members of the six families that have forgotten him
Nabi Gul, 90, is from Charsadda. He is a widower with no children. He said his life became meaningless after the death of his wife, just a year after they got married. He never thought of remarrying. Now blind, the pain of being homeless and alone can be seen in his demeanour. “Four years back, doctors at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences told me that my vision could be restored through surgery, but I did not have the Rs100,000 needed for it,” he said. He has been living here for the last three-and-half years and his wish is to see the world one last time.
Mukhtar Begum Ghulam Qadir Memorial Trust currently houses 22 people including seven women. Only three of them will be spending Eid with their relatives.
Farrukh Abbas, the manager of the trust, said every person at the home misses their families and would prefer to live with them, but their families think differently.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 18th, 2015.
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