• 26 Jan - 01 Feb, 2019
  • Nadeem Alam
  • Fiction

I was not surprised at all on learning the location of Ghulam Rasul, Resham and her brother. Jameel told me that they were being kept in the basement of my old hide out, where I had betrayed Naheed Khan and where he shot himself. I had killed Jameel because he was an accomplice of Naheed Khan and knew a little too much about me and my weak links. He could have led police to me if left alive. I searched his body and found a key chain which contained many keys. I suspected that these must pertain to the locks in the basement where he was keeping my friends. I came out from behind the bus and looked around. There was nobody present in the parking area. I walked out of the railway station and called Bilal. He attended the call on first ring as he was waiting anxiously:

“Bilal, listen carefully. Leave the woman wherever you are. Rent a car at the soonest possible and meet me at my old hide out.”

“Didn’t you search that place before?” Bilal asked in a concerned voice.

“There is a basement in that house which might be sound proof or something. I did not know about it before,” I replied.

“How will you reach there?” he asked me further.

In the meantime, I spotted a lonely motorbike parked in front of the railway colony quarters.

“Forget about me and reach there as soon as possible,” I told him.

I then hung up the phone and walked towards the bike. I had a plan to steal it or get it forcefully. When I got closer, I noticed that it already had its key in the ignition. There was a guy standing at some distance from the bike talking on his mobile. I did not care much and headed towards the bike, switched on the ignition and sped off. I was already on my way before the guy could even realised as to what had happened. In the rear view mirror, I saw him running behind me. The road leading to railway station was deserted. I pressed the accelerator hard and turned it towards the road leading out of Ghotki.


In about next twenty minutes, I had reached the fields. I hid the bike, crossed the wall and entered the house from the kitchen door which was still ajar. Just a day earlier, Naheed Khan had shot himself in this house. The house was empty and the wind was blowing with a whistling sound. It was now about 6 p.m. There was enough sunlight and everything was clear inside the house. In next one hour, I searched every inch of the house but could not find any way leading to the basement. I had now started thinking that Jameel had given me the wrong information. I should not have killed him.

In the meantime, Bilal also joined me. He had brought a car and parked it in the rear fields. He was also of the view that I should not have killed Jameel but the damage was already done. The sun was about to set. I told Bilal to go inside and open every door once again. I decided to take another round of the house from outside before the sunset. After about half an hour, when I was about to abandon the search and leave, I suspected something different at one place. There was a store adjacent to the kitchen. I had searched it twice from inside. I was sure that it was half of the width of kitchen wall but from outside it covered the complete width. Something flashed in my mind. There was a hidden space in the kitchen store. I ran inside from the kitchen backdoor. Bilal followed me from inside. It had gotten dark by then. We both switched on our mobile torches and entered the store. It was empty too except for a cupboard placed against the side wall. It was basically a small shelf and in fact the only part of furniture present in the house. I handed over my cellphone to Bilal and pushed the cupboard with full force. And there it was… a small door not more than 3 feet high. I took out the key chain of Jameel and after three tries, I found the relevant key. I did not want us both to go down and get locked there as well. I told Bilal to wait outside and keep the area secured. He had his gun with him. In the torch light, I went down and found another locked door. I had all the keys. I opened this door as well and entered a dark room. I threw my torch light in the room and there I saw shadows of the three persons lying on mattresses with their feet chained to the center pillar. They started getting up as I entered the room. They still did not know it was me. They probably thought that I must be the kidnapper who had come to check up on them or feed them. I looked around with my murky torch and found an emergency light. I switched it on and pointed it to my face.


I heard Resham’s sobs for the very first time in my life. Ghulam Rasul had also recognised me but he opted to remain quiet. Resham’s brother was the first to speak.

“Who are you?”

Instead of replying, I started unlocking their chains. First, I set free Ghulam Rasul. He put his hand on my shoulder and said, “I was sure you would not let us die like this.”

I looked at him and said, “I am sorry, I took too much time.”

He seemed the only person who was happy to see me.

“It does not matter. You are here now.”

I unlocked the chains of Resham’s brother who was still confused. He wanted to say something again but was interrupted by Resham’s sobbing.

“Go away Faqir Muhammad. You are dead to me.”

She was last in the line. I walked towards her and said, “We need to hurry up. This place is a crime scene. We must leave at once.”

As I touched Resham’s foot, she pulled it towards her. I tried it again but she retracted her foot under her body. I did not want to waste time so I gave her the keys and went upstairs telling Ghulam Rasul to make it snappy. Ghulam Rasul understood the intricate situation so he helped Resham and her brother getting out of the basement. In the kitchen, I was waiting to receive them with Bilal. We all left the house from the backside and reached the car.


As I started the car, Resham’s brother said, “Faqir Muhamamd, take us back home.”

By now, he had recognised me. He was too small when I left the village but he must have heard many stories about me.

“I can’t do that,” I replied in a cold voice.

“Why not?” He asked angrily.

I tried to explain that this area is now infested with my enemies who will not leave them as well. Moreover, police will also bother them a lot due to their link with the killing of three individuals in last two days. I was hinting about the dead robber, Naheed Khan and Jameel. He did not understand it much but Ghulam Rasul told him that it’s better if they remain away from this area for some time. Ghulam Rasul also said that he would return to his village as soon as the situation is normalised. I told them about the entire ordeal. I told them about Naheed Khan and how he took revenge from me by kidnapping them. I skipped the exact details about the reasons behind Naheed Khan’s enmity with me. I did not want to reveal details of the murder of Hashim Khan and how I trapped Ghulam Rasul so that he could join me in South Africa. I still had some task for him. Resham did not utter a single word throughout our five-hour journey to Bahawalpur.

It was 1 a.m. when we reached Noor Mahal. An old friend of mine, who had quit his underworld life and shifted to this place, was waiting for me there. His name was Ahsan. I had helped him in this transition some five years ago when he decided to get married with the love of his life. Ahsan now owned a small guesthouse in Bahawalpur. I called him when we got out of Ghokti and asked him to reserve the complete guesthouse for us. I did not want anyone to see us there and get suspected since we did not plan to go out at all. We stayed there for ten days.


During our time in the guest house at Bahawalpur, I transferred money to all the people who worked for me. We had rest, food and good medical attention. We all needed that badly. I also had a detailed talk with Resham. I told her that from the very first day in Karachi, I got involved in the things which led me to a path of destruction. I made few friends but lots of enemies who were willing to go to any extent to take revenge from me. They had no ethics or moral values. I feared for the safety of my loved ones. I adored her so much that I sacrificed my feelings for her safety and she understood my situation. It was in Bahalwapur just adjacent to the famous Noor Mahal that we got married.

After ten days, I got a report from Bilal that everything was normal. Police had found the dead body of Jameel from the railway parking and suspected some gang rivalry behind his murder. Police had also paid a visit to my village to inquire about some Faqir Muhammad whose identity card was found from the possession of dead robber outside Bilal’s house. They learnt that Faqir Muhammad left this village some twenty years ago and never returned back. Bilal already had paid a hefty amount to police officials to extricate my credit cards from their possession. I was much relieved hearing the same. After getting a full report from Bilal who had come to Bahalwapur to take the rented car back, I allowed Resham’s brother to go to his home with Bilal. He had already talked to his parents and told them that he and Resham are fine. Ghulam Rasul also went with Resham’s brother and Bilal. I told him to spend few days in the village with his parents and also keep an eye on Resham’s brother. I also instructed Ghulam Rasul to go back to South Africa and stay there till my return. I promised him that I would let him come back to his parents and asked him to arrange for a suitable place for us in some far flung place where I could keep my family without any distraction and my usual work hazards. I had made some plans to shift to yet another country after spending sometime in South Africa and taking care of my business. In the meantime, I tasked my sources to make new identity documents for Resham and arrange for her passport and visa. After coordinating all these matters, I took Ahsan’s jeep and departed for Khunjrab pass with Resham. There was a full moon night when we departed from Bahawalpur. Resham glanced at it for once and then put her head on my shoulder.