Forgotten hero: The cost of being heroic

Published: December 31, 2010
Shamsul Anwar

Shamsul Anwar

ISLAMABAD: He caught a terrorist red-handed planting a time bomb in a Rawalpindi mosque and thus saved a Friday congregation from deaths and injuries.

The terrorists punished him for his act of bravery by kidnapping his two sons one of whom was killed and the other released on payment of ransom. This man of rare courage today has no money for the treatment of a son who has blood cancer. In fact he has no money to provide even two meals a day to his family.

He drives a cab now. He is Shamsul Anwar.

Every year, many individuals in Pakistan foil terrorist activities, only to suffer later due to government’s negligence in providing them protection.

The terrorists have not forgiven him and continue to threaten him but government is apathetic and refuses to help him in any way. He fears for the safety of his daughters.

He had started his construction business in Rawalpindi and was leading a happy and peaceful life with his eight children and wife after leaving the army.

The mosque incident happened on January 3, 2001 in the main mosque of Dhok Gujaran, Rawalpindi.

In the bargain he lost his 13-year-old son Yaseen and became a pauper after paying Rs1.4 million in ransom for the release of his other kidnapped son Faizullah. The terrorists had killed Yasin and made the other son, Faizullah, watch, which made him a nervous wreck.

Later they injected him with something poisonous, which damaged his kidneys. This was probably the cause of his blood cancer, Anwar says.

“I made a number of appeals to the prime minister for financial support for the treatment of my son but was told that my file had been closed as they had already given me enough money,” he added.

He said he had only been given Rs100,000 while he needed Rs500,000 for the treatment of his son, which requires blood transfusions. The money was given when Shaukat Aziz was the premier.

The Baitul Mal had given him another Rs25000 in this connection. His request for more money for the bone marrow transplant was bluntly refused.

“Your son is not the only one in the country who is suffering from cancer,” was the response from the PM House.

Meanwhile the terrorist gang, finding him helpless, is threatening him again and are now after his two daughters. On December 28 when he went to the Westridge Police Station to lodge the report against the terrorists he was taunted by the police for catching the bomber.

“You are a brave man. Now suffer,” they told him.

He said he would hold the government responsible if anything happened to his daughters. He appealed to the government to provide him with protection and a job to support his family.

He said, “I have sold my house, my taxis and mortgaged my van to bear the expenses of my son’s treatment and to provide food to my family.”

Published in The Express Tribune, December 31st, 2010.

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Reader Comments (17)

  • Shahryar+Ahmed
    Dec 31, 2010 - 12:05PM

    Sad, we can spend millions of dollars on investigation reports & security measures for politicians but cannot help a true hero.


  • Concerned
    Dec 31, 2010 - 12:47PM

    This is really sad – someone who risked his own life to save so many others is being treated in such a shameful way. I am sure that Shamsul Anwar’s case is only one of many similar cases across the country.

    The Express Tribune could perhaps establish some kind of fund which is transparent and run by an honest trustee to help such heroes and other deserving individuals. I am sure there would be many willing to donate to this fund.

    Tribune is doing a great job in bringing such issues to light and I hope such articles can result in putting additional pressure on government departments such as the police to change their attitude towards people like Shamsul Anwar. I am disgusted at the above-mentioned careless attitude of the police which suggests that the poor man is paying the price for being “brave” and foiling the bomb plot. Recommend

  • Concerned
    Dec 31, 2010 - 12:49PM

    And thank you Sehrish for writing this piece – keep up the good work !Recommend

  • Ahmed
    Dec 31, 2010 - 2:21PM

    While millions of the taxpayer’s hard-earned rupees are being spent for the investigation of a politician, the real heroes suffer. Why would anyone want to help pakistan or even be sincere with a country that treats its’ citizens like this?Recommend

  • Dec 31, 2010 - 2:40PM

    This is what I call journalism. Awesome job Sehrish! Recommend

  • FK
    Dec 31, 2010 - 2:50PM

    Thank you for highlighting this issue…..if possible can you guys give out his number so we can contact him and do whatever we can.Recommend

  • Muhammad saeed
    Dec 31, 2010 - 5:43PM

    Kindly give me his number I would like to help him…you can send the number on my email address also..Recommend

  • Saima Naz
    Dec 31, 2010 - 7:58PM

    I have just approached the writer of this article Ms Wasif. So people who wants to help this hero of our country, they can contact him on this number 03465524259. May ALLAH bless him and his family.Ameen!Recommend

  • Aamir+Ali
    Dec 31, 2010 - 8:50PM

    Please help this brave man.Recommend

  • Sana
    Dec 31, 2010 - 10:27PM

    Can you please email me this person’s number or let me know of how we can help him?Recommend

  • Zohaib
    Jan 1, 2011 - 2:25AM

    I agree with the suggestion that maybe the Express Tribune could help set up a fund that collects donations for caring for those affected by terrorism in Pakistan. It is extremely unfortunate that no such fund currently exists, and I am positive that many Pakistanis across the globe will be willing to donate to such a fund, especially if it is set up by a legitimate organization like the Express Tribune. Recommend

  • Jan 1, 2011 - 3:35AM

    Can someone please get us the contact details for this man?
    We’d like to launch a fund-raising campaign for him here in EU, through APPEC.
    But we do need to first varify the on-ground status of his troubles directly from him.
    Any help in this regard will be highly appreciated.
    Thank you in advance.
    — Waqqas
    On behalf of APPEC,
    Paris, France.
    APPEC = Association of Pakistanis for Promotion of Education and Cooperation.
    Website = http://www.appec.durabledevelopment.comRecommend

  • Humanity
    Jan 1, 2011 - 6:39AM

    Expecting humans to show gratitude or compassion is futile. May God help this man.Recommend

  • S. Asghar
    Jan 1, 2011 - 9:50AM

    Please inform how to help him as well. You can take my email address from Express tribune forum.

    S. Asghar.Recommend

  • Saima Naseer
    Jan 1, 2011 - 4:11PM

    His contact number is 03465524259 .Recommend

  • Yusuf Ali
    Jan 1, 2011 - 10:13PM

    Moral of the story: Never try to catch a terrorist!Recommend

    Jan 4, 2011 - 10:57AM

    its really pathetic govt have to protect him and his family as its the responsibility of the state to protect all… Recommend

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