Hope

Stories like this convince you that there is hope in this world.

A 24-year-old Pakistani national is locked up in a Lucknow jail for ten years through a tragic set of circumstances.

A team of NDTV tracked down Mohd Sharif’s family in Pakistan and informed them that their son was alive and now there is hope that he may return where he belongs.

he journey of Karachi born Sharif has been one of deprivation and abuse. He was kidnapped at the age of twelve by his stepbrother and taken to Saudi Arabia.

Sharif was forced into menial labour and beaten up at the smallest mistake.

Following an altercation, Sharif’s brother got him arrested on a rape charge but he was released after he was proved innocent.

He was arrested again for carrying a fake Indian passport. Since he was a minor, he was deported to India.

“When I wanted to go back to Pakistan, I was told I had a fake Indian passport and I was sent off to India,” he said.

He remained in a juvenile prison till he turned 18. Since he was not a criminal the judge handed him over to the SHO of Kakori police station.

Treated badly by the first officer, Sharif’s luck changed when Pramod Kumar Pande took charge. A strange policeman in an allegedly hostile nation became his family.

“If I want a CD, he gives it to me. I have a colour TV he bought for me,” said Sharif.

“When we have to buy something we just go ahead and get it. We have never had the feeling that we would have to spend a lot of money on him. He is like a family member to us,” said Pande.

Ray of hope

By a stroke of luck, one day Idris, a tailor, came to the police station to stitch some uniforms. When he heard Sharif was from Karachi, where his in laws lived, he offered to meet Sharif’s family.

Idris travelled to Karachi early this year where he met Sharif’s old parents who believed Sharif had died 12 years ago when he disappeared from a local madarsa.

After the initial disbelief, Sharif’s family began to fight for his return. Armed with documents proving his Pakistani nationality, they sought the help of the police.

In normal times, the police is often indifferent, but in Sharif’s case, with cross border ramifications, the process moved quickly.

It has been an agonising wait for Sharif’s family. “All I want is to get my son back,” said his mother.

Sharif’s father, a fisherman, chose to come to Karachi in 1972 after the birth of Bangladesh.

Still dirt poor with a large family and speaking the Chittagong dialect, he still considers himself a Pakistani – an identity his son is now fighting to reclaim.

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