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Agonising search for missing students

ISLAMABAD, July 21: Wait turns out to be unending for those frantically searching for their loved ones for the last 10 days since the termination of the Lal Masjid operation.

Scores of relatives of missing madrassa students could be found at the Pakistan Sports Complex (PSC). They still carry the hope that their children would rejoin them 'soon'. Carrying the pictures of their missing children and documents about them, they run from one information desk to the other.

Seen among the distressed lot was Muzamil Shah, 80, whose 20-year-old son Muhammad Ali went missing in the Lal Masjid operation. He was showing his son's educational certificates to officials at the information desks to prove that his son was not a Lal Masjid madrassa student.

"My son had nothing to do with the Lal Masjid. He is a regular student of the Asghar Mall College, Rawalpindi and went there just to offer prayers before the operation beagn and have been missing ever since," he insisted. He said the authorities had been keeping mum over his son's whereabouts.

Shah recalled the Supreme Court's orders to authorities for arranging a visit of missing students' parents and relatives to Islamabad/ Rawalpindi police stations and hospitals and regretted the orders had yet to be complied with.

He claimed that Islamabad Deputy Commissioner Muhammad Ali had asked him to return home and just pray for his son. "I had not brought up my child for this day. No one has the right to keep him in illegal confinement or kill him," he said with tears rolling down his cheeks.

Meanwhile, officials at the information desks claimed 61 relatives of the missing madrassa students had been taken to the city's hospitals and police stations. Majority of them found their children there and those, who could not, opted for submitting applications for DNA tests, they insisted. They said that by Friday, they had collected 52 samples for DNA tests, the findings of which would be reported in the next 10 days. Daily times
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