Malayali Family Back Home with 7 Years of Horrid Memories of Pakistan - The New Indian Express

Malayali Family Back Home with 7 Years of Horrid Memories of Pakistan

Published: 24th April 2014 08:57 AM

Last Updated: 24th April 2014 08:57 AM

“For seven years, our existence was confined to a small room on the first floor of a 45 sq ft restaurant at Liaquatabad in Karachi. Since all essential documents proving our identity were seized by the officials, our movement was totally curtailed. We lived in constant uncertainty like prisoners waiting for the final verdict,” said Haneefa, who, along with wife Haseena and children Haseeb and Habiba, was trapped for about seven years in Pakistan and was finally deported to India a few days ago. They arrived in Mumbai on Saturday and reached home by Sunday afternoon.

Friends and family members had thronged ‘Nettontade Veedu’ at Koottery near here to share the moments of ecstasy with their beloved kin. Amidst moments of emotional tumult, Haneefa and family were seen not fully recovered from the unexpected shocking experience abroad. “It will take a few more days to free ourselves from those horrid experiences,” Haneefa said.

Haneefa’s father Abdulla, a Pakistani citizen, passed away in Karachi in 1992. Haneefa and wife went to Karachi in 2007 on a visiting visa with a dream of selling the father’s restaurant and setting up a business in Dubai. But sale was not easy as expected as all documents were in the name of Abdulla. “Meanwhile, our visas expired and our passports were seized by a government agency. The birth of our son, who is now three years old, further complicated the issue, as obtaining a passport for him was possible only through the Indian Embassy in Islamabad where we could not reach as inter-city journey without documents was impossible. A daughter was also born to us four months ago. Finally, somehow we reached the Indian Embassy, where the officials said that passport could be issued only from Delhi. Quite surprisingly, Sadanandan, a Malayali Embassy official, suggested the possibility of contacting B M Kutty, a trade unionist and campaigner for peace. “We are always obliged to the help rendered by Kutty. He was always vigilant in safeguarding us from being jailed. The media also played a decisive role in getting passports and ensuring our safe return,” Haneefa said.

Haneefa and wife said in unison that they would never-ever wish to visit Pakistan again. “In Karachi, there is no safety for human life. Gangs of bandits would board buses and loot the entire passengers. Bombs may explode at any street at any time,” Haneefa and brother Nissar, who visited the city on many occasions, said. “Locals thronged  ‘Abdulla Hotel,’ the restaurant set up by our father, for their favourite dishes like tandoori roti, chapathy, porotta, beef and chicken. But we almost survived on rice and fish curry which we cooked ourselves. The restaurant is now run by Mahmood, our relative, and a Pakistani citizen,” Haneefa said.

According to them, Karachi resembled Mumbai in many aspects. “The population comprised the highly rich and extremely poor, but personal hygiene was generally poor. Separate streets are there for every product. During wedding, instead of gold, people preferred to give furniture and at Liaquatabad a large market was meant exclusively for sale of furniture,” Haneefa said. Haneefa and wife could never move around the city as fear had always gripped them. “We were afraid to even talk to family members over phone,” he added. “Hindi entertainment channels from India were popular, but Indian news channels were blocked,” he said. “The scorching heat in Karachi was often unbearable and we hardly remember a heavy rain during the seven years,” Haneefa added. Haneefa’s mother Ayisha and Nafeesa, sister of Ayisha, who arrived from Wayanad, said that they were much relived that Haneefa, wife and children were finally back home.

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