- 24 Jul - 30 Jul, 2021
- 08 Dec - 14 Dec, 2018
I remained quiet but kept the gun pointed at him. Sensing my sensibility at work, he started being friendly. “You look new in the city. You can come with me and I will introduce you to my boss. He will arrange a job and a place to live for you.” Saying this, he started walking in front of me without taking notice whether I was following him or not. Tucking the gun in my pocket, I began walking behind him as I had nowhere to go. After crossing a few streets, the curly haired man entered into an automobile workshop where few mechanics were working on the old vintage cars. At the entrance of a room, he signalled me to wait outside. After about two minutes, he came out and took me inside. The room was small but the man half lying on the charpoy was huge. I had never seen such a tall man in my entire life. He looked at me from head to toe and then extended his hand. I shook his hand and thus entered into the surreptitious world of assassination, executions and deception. There was no place for love and affection in my new profession.
After spending about three years of my life with Aslam Mota, I had decided to go solo. He had taught me every skill I needed to survive in this field. The first thing I did was to establish a secure base outside the country. Aslam Mota had taken me to South Africa couple of times and I had made a few contacts there. They were ready to help me starting up a new business in Johannesburg. I had enough money but it was not sufficient to lead a luxury life, a life for which I had left everything behind. It was though a good start but I needed continuous flow of money for which I had to return to Karachi. I also needed a trusted partner to look after my interests in South Africa. The first person who came in my mind was Ghulam Raul. He, in fact, was the only person who I think about. I knew he would never agree to come with me and leave his old parents behind. I, therefore, needed to be very meticulous and scrupulous.
I was back in Karachi and not working for Aslam Mota anymore and eventually he was angry and looking for me. I had to hit him before he gets to me. He probably did not expect me to walk in his den in the broad day light. He trusted his men and it was his biggest mistake. I knew money can buy anything and I had bought them all. He tried to get up from his favourite charpoy when I walked into the small room behind the workshop. I instructed him to keep lying there and not to move an inch. He looked at the curly haired man who was sitting with him in the room and told him to shoot me. The curly haired man took out his gun and rather pointed it at him. The red faced Aslam Mota turned pale and the curly haired man shot twice in his chest and and his head. We then sat there as nothing had happened and started planning about getting Ghulam Rasul out of the village.
The curly haired man had gone to my village and I was waiting desperately for his call. I was staying in a hotel in Ghokti. We had planned each and every step very carefully. The curly haired man first had to sneak into the house of Ghulam Rasul, steal his axe and then go to Hashim Khan’s house and kill him. Ghulam Rasul’s family had a land dispute with Hashim Khan and there had been many altercations between them. My plan was to get Ghulam Rasul entangled in the murder of his enemy and then extricate him out of there to avoid the legal repercussions. Everything went as per the plan. I followed the case till police apprehended Ghulam Rasul since his axe was found at the murder spot and he had a strong motive too. On the same night when Ghulam Rasul was arrested, I went to my village after five years. The curly haired man dropped me before the canal bridge and I told him to wait for me there. Very discretely, I entered Ghulam Rasul’s house and woke up his father who was sleeping in the courtyard. It was full moon night. There was sufficient light to look around. Initially surprised to see me, his father started crying after realising my actual presence after so many years. He told me that police has arrested his son on suspicion of murder. Acting as if I knew nothing, I told him that I came to village only to meet Ghulam Rasul. I also advised him not to let anyone know about my arrival and I assured him the early release of Ghulam Rasul from prison. I asked him to come to Ghotki the next day while revealing my whereabout in the city. I lurked back as silently as I entered the house. It was exact midnight and I could see a shadow on the roof of neighbouring house. I knew it was Resham. She was looking at the moon. I stopped there for a moment, staring at her and my heart started racing fast. “It is not the right time. I must go”, I thought and wiped my tears. I had never cried before.
Next day, Ghulam Rasul’s father, Chacha Boota, came to see me in the hotel. He was alone and he was not being followed as told by curly haired man. He led Chacha Boota to a restaurant where I was supposed to meet him. Chacha Boota looked angrily at me. “Why didn’t you go to your home and meet your family? I asked your elder brother about you in the morning and I was surprised to know that you had not made any contact with them in the last three years”. He kept on asking questions but I interrupted him. “Chacha, do you want your son out of the prison or not?”
“But he did not do it. He was at home sleeping when Hashim Khan was murdered.” Chacha Boota tried to prove his son’s innocence.
“Police has the evidence that your son killed Hashim Khan. They have the murder weapon and they have the motive. The court will believe in the prosecutor’s story and Ghulam Rasul will be given death sentence. There is absolutely no chance of his getting out of prison alive.” I consciously made the matter sound more serious.
Chacha Boota started looking scared and terrified. It was time to make my final blow.
“Only I can get your son out of prison alive but…” I paused intentionally.
“But what?” Chacha Boota was now frantic.
I put my hand on the old man’s shoulder, saying, “Chacha, the only way that comes to my mind is to break him out of police custody. But after that he can’t stay here.”
Chacha Boota now seemed worried. Wrinkles were widening on his forehead.
“Where will he go then?”
I clutched his hand and said, “I will relocate him to some other place and will take good care of him. He will get married there and will lead a happy life.”
I then put the last nail in the coffin.
“The other option is that you hire a lawyer. Plead his case. Eventually, you will lose all your land and will end up keeping your son with you, in grave.”
I dug further, “I don’t know how hard it is for an old man to bury his son so young? You will know it soon.”
Chacha Boota could not take it anymore. His shoulders dropped and his eyes were full of tears. Ghulam Rasul was his only son. He could not let him die, not before him, not in front of his eyes. He looked at me with despair and said, “Faqiray, he was your best friend. Do whatever is possible to keep him alive. I know he is innocent. You can then take him away from here to a place where he is safe and happy. I and my old wife will rest in peace.”
I looked at the curly haired man. He was sitting on our table with a newspaper spread in front of him. He had a handy cam with him and was making video of our conversation. I then called the waiter and ordered some food. None of us spoke another word. When we finished, I told the curly haired man to drop Chacha Boota at the canal bridge. Before leaving, I hugged Chacha and asked him not to be worried further. I also instructed him not to let anybody know about our meeting. No one should ever know about my arrival here or he will lose his son forever. I also told him categorically not to let Ghulam Rasul know about our plan. He looked at me wretchedly and walked away behind the curly haired man.
In next few days, I gathered the information from my local sources about the case of Ghulam Rasul. I found out that police has already produced Ghulam Rasul in the court of judicial magistrate and obtained 7 days remand to investigate the murder of Hashim Khan. After seven days, he will be produced again in the court. I bribed the court clerk and got the information that police had failed to get confession from Ghulam Rasul and there was no headway in the investigation. There was likelihood that police would get an extension in remand. I did reconnaissance of all the areas and routes, and worked out the best modus operandi to extricate Ghulam Rasul from police custody. There was no chance that the judicial magistrate would grant him bail. Keeping in view the strong evidence planted by us, Ghulam Rasul was sure to get implicated in this case. We had to break him out. I had worked out a perfect plan.
At the end of his initial remand, Ghulam Rasul was brought to the court of Judicial Magistrate-3 in Ghotki. Police asked for extension of remand and another seven days were granted by the magistrate. It was about 1 p.m. when they got free from the court proceedings. Chacha Boota was also present in the court. As per my advice, he did not let anyone know about me or my plan. I was there too wearing a fake moustache and a beard. Police party was now asking Chacha Boota to arrange lunch for them. While they were waiting in the court, I took Chacha Boota on one side and told him that I had arranged food for the police party at the Shinwari restaurant about 10km away from the canal bridge of our village. He must take the police party to that restaurant and then leave everything else to me. He looked a little shaky but I instilled some confidence in him. He had an important part to play in this act. I reminded him that life of his son depends on his role. He seemed quite depressed but agreed to convince police party to go to the restaurant.
As per my instructions, Chacha Boota told the police party that he has arranged food at the Shinwari restaurant en-route the police station. Police Inspector insisted on having food in Ghotki before leaving. I was sitting nearby and listening to their conversation, and my heart sank. Chacha Boota, however, managed to convince him to go to the Shinwari restaurant as he has already arranged everything there. More so, he showed his empty pocket and said that he has no more money left with him. Police Inspector hesitantly agreed and told everyone to get into the mobile. Chacha Boota also sat in the police mobile with his son and it sped out of the court. I was following them in the jeep and the curly haired man was waiting for us at the designated restaurant. After about an hour’s journey, we reached at the said restaurant. The police party went inside the special room along with Ghulam Rasul and Chacha Boota. This room had been kept vacant by the curly haired man as he had already paid some money to restaurant manager. He was wearing a shabby dress and looked like a waiter too. As the police party arrived, he rushed and guided them to the room. He had already got chicken karahi ready for police party and had added a special ingredient in it. A little boy placed the food inside the room and then curly haired man stood outside ensuring no one enters.
to be continued...