A mother`s quest for son lost to extremism
ISLAMABAD, June 11: A mother is desperately searching for her only son for the last 32 months after she allegedly lost him to a group of women recruiting teenagers in the capital for the banned Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
Determined to bring the culprits to justice, Zahida Parveen told Dawn that the group operating in sector I-10 under the umbrella of Tehrik-i-Islami (TP) is affiliated with the TTP. She added that the sons of “TI women” were holding senior positions in the outlawed militant group.
“These women brainwash teenagers and urge them to become part of Jihad. If this not does work, they kidnap them.” She said in the recent past a number of teenagers have disappeared from sector I-10. “This group is involved in these disappearances.”
According to Parveen, she had left her I-10/2 residence after she received threats from TI and TTP for going to police and judiciary to trace her missing son Adnan. Though she had been told that her son had “embraced martyrdom”, she has not given up the search.
Adnan left Taxila University`s Chakwal Campus on October 19, 2008 at 7:30pm. Next day Parveen received a call from his cellphone. “Adnan was weeping, saying he was very worried but also asked me not to discuss his disappearance with anyone.” Afterwards, she found Adnan`s cellphone switched off.
Last year in January and June, the Supreme Court heard the case of Adnan`s disappearance on a suo motu. But both the times the hearing was put off.
The desperate mother had also tried to use her contacts with the TI women to find her son.
Shortly after Adnan`s disappearance, she approached Maimoona, a powerful `nazima` of TI in sector I-10. “Maimoona assured me that she would make efforts to bring Adnan back. But I and my family were made to take oath on Quran not to discuss my son`s disappearance with anyone.” The families of Parveen and Maimoona lived in the same street in I-10/2 before Adnan went missing. “Powerful people used to meet with Maimoona and outside her home you would always find big luxury vehicles.”
According to Parveen, months later another IT nazima, Sabina, brought a letter, saying it was written by Adnan. But she said the writing was not Adnan`s. Next day when Parveen complained about the `fake` letter, Maimoona threatened that she was putting her family in danger. But she again assured Parveen that Adnan would be back before Eid.
Though Adnan did not come back before Eid, Parveen received an anonymous call, informing her that a letter was lying outside her doorstep. The computer generated letter had the dreadful news: “ Ap ka baita shaheed ho gaya hai .” Parveen rushed to Maimoona`s home, who snatched the letter and again threatened the mother.
Munawar Hussain, uncle of Adnan, blames Maimoona, her daughter Robina and son Owais along with one Mohammad Ashraf and his son Maroof for Adnan`s disappearance. “All these days my search and information gathering tells me that these people are responsible.” Ashraf lived on the ground floor of the house where Parveen lived.
As Maroof had also gone `missing` at the same time, Hussain asked Ashraf about his son`s whereabouts. “Ashraf first said Maroof had gone on Tableegh but later said he was with his sick maternal uncle in Lahore.”
When Hussain contacted Maroof`s elder brother Abdul Rauf, a teacher in a government school in I-10, he got some news about his nephew. “Rauf assured to arrange a meeting with Maroof and also informed that Adnan was alive and busy in Jihad.”
The search also led to discovery that Maimoona`s other son, Ihtasham, died in fighting in Miranshah. “Maimoona`s husband admitted that they received a video and a letter informing them about killing of their son,” Hussain said.
The next stop for the sister and the brother was a meeting with organisers of TI â€“ Yasmin Hameed and Amara Ahsan. It remained unsuccessful. The two women told them to stop making efforts for the recovery of Adnan or face dire consequences. Amara`s elder son had died in fighting and her younger son is a TTP commander, according to Hussain. “Yasmin`s sons, Ibrahim and Hassan, are also affiliated with TTP.”
Parveen said because of Maimoona`s strong contacts, it took her 10 months to register the FIR about Adnan`s disappearance in August 2009. “It was only after a serving general intervened that the FIR was registered.” The FIR led to the arrest of Maimoona, Robina, Maroof and Sabina, but they got bail from the high court six months ago.
However, police sources believe that Parveen was also part of the TI group. They suspect her son went to tribal area on his own where he was killed.
Sources said the TI was recruiting teenagers in the capital in the name of “Jihad” but they were mainly used for carrying out bombings and suicide attacks. They said the group was involved in a series of cracker blasts in Islamabad last year, besides attacks on the General Headquarters (GHQ) and a mosque in the cantonment in Rawalpindi. Many TI suspects were arrested for their involvement in the attack on GHQ in 2009. Police sources say some TI activists were involved in suicide attacks in the capital.