Searching for missing students with a hope

ISLAMABAD, July 16: People on Sunday continued to run from pillar to post in search of their missing near and dear ones studying at Lal Masjid madrassas. Instead of assuaging their misery, the authorities offered them little help in locating the whereabouts of the missing persons. The distressed lot also complained of discourteous attitude of the district administration's officials who were deputed at Sports Complex for their 'service'.

Relatives of the missing persons decried that the lists displayed at the Complex were incomplete and they were not provided with the details of their relatives in police custody and the DNA test reports of the 36 dead. They regretted that the photographs of only five out of 72 dead buried in H-11 graveyard had been displayed at the complex.

Faisal Khan, an ex-student of Jamia Fareedia, said that he had no information whether his 16 years old brother living on the Lal Masjid premises was alive. He said he had a hope that his brother might be alive. He said he had been going to every place from where he thought his brother could be. He said he had spoken last to his brother on July 4 over cell phone and learned about his shifting to an unidentified place by the police along with 300 madrassa students. Ever since, he said, he has been searching for his missing brother. He said he had visited twin city hospitals, Adiala Jail, H-11 graveyard and Sports Complex but found no clue about his whereabouts. He said his brother's picture was not amongst those displayed at the Complex. He denied Jamia Fareedia taught students jihadi courses.

Lal Muhammad from Bajaur was present inside the Sport Complex to learn about his nephew, Ahsanullah, 22, a student of Jamia Fareedia. He had been missing for the last five days. He said he had visited hospitals and Adiala Jail in this regard but in vain.

He demanded photographs of those buried at H-11 graveyard be displayed at hospitals, Adiala Jail and Sport Complex for the convenience of distressed families. He said people had been forced to apply for the DNA tests of the buried due to the absence of photographs from the display boards.

District Magistrate Islamabad Azhar Bukhari said the Islamabad police arrested 653 madrassa students during the Lal Masjid operation and all of them were later shifted to Adiala Jail. Of them, he said, 496 students have been released by Sunday and the remaining 157 are likely to be freed today (Monday). He said interrogation of the students by intelligence agencies had been delaying their release.

Deputy Commissioner Islamabad Chaudhry Muhammad Ali said photographs of only five of 72 persons buried at H-11 graveyard had been put on display at Sports Complex notice boards and the pictures of other students had been handed over to the police for investigation.

He said hectic efforts had been underway to locate missing madrassa students, adding the DNA test reports will contribute to these efforts.

A crowd of 200 persons gathered at the information cell set up by MMA MNA Bilqees Saif at Sports Complex to know about missing madrassa students. She said she would move court if the government did not provide her with the names of missing students by Monday. Daily times



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