A ghastly trend is emerging in the city where children are going missing; only for some of their bodies to turn up days later. In some cases, family members say the remains were found with severed limbs or incisions.
The latest victim is young Kashifa*, a resident of Mohalla Muhammad Dad in Dabgrai. She went missing on Monday, May 16 and was found dead in Srikot.
“She went to school and never returned,” her grandfather Aziz tells The Express Tribune. “She was in uniform and with her schoolbag,” he recalls, thinking of when she left home for the last time.
“Her body was found and both arms had been cut off,” he says. “Police had put her in a coffin and told us not to open it. They said it (the body) was three days old, but personally I thought it was just 12 hours old,” he argues. The family still has no idea about the circumstances that led to Kashifa’s demise.
A girl from Javedabad, within the Banamarhi police station’s jurisdiction, went missing on May 25. “I am a poor labourer,” says the girl’s father. “My daughter is eight years old and went missing three days ago. I contacted Banamarhi police and lodged a report,” he says. The father believes the stepmother’s highhandedness prompted her to leave home.
Bodies pile up
Two boys went missing, also from Javedabad, Banamarhi, around May 5. Muzamal was found alive in Achini, while Hilal, the other boy, is still missing despite the hectic efforts of police and family to locate him.
Towards the end of April, a boy named Zikria was kidnapped from Dheri Baghbanan in Malangabad in the same jurisdiction. On May 1, his body was found in Akbarpura, Nowshera.
His relatives quietly shifted the body. A large cut in his abdomen sparked speculation that his organs had been removed. This belief was supported by his family, but refuted by the police who said the incision was made during an autopsy.
The last week of April also saw eight-year-old Iqra disappearing from her home and her body was found in a canal in Yakatoot. In order to avoid any unwanted attention, the family quietly took the body and buried it.
On April 11, the body of a four-year-old boy was found, also in Banamarhi. He had been murdered. His fingers were missing.
‘Don’t jump to conclusions’
Superintendent City Circle Afzal Khan says these mysterious disappearances are being investigated. The officer adds there are cases where some children go missing for a time but ultimately return home. He stresses there is no evidence suggesting the organs have been removed of any of the children whose bodies were found. Khan says it will be premature to reach such a conclusion without comprehensive proof. He adds the police recently busted a gang which was kidnapping children for ransom.
*Name changed to protect identity
Published in The Express Tribune, May 29th, 2015.
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