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Mother finds `missing son` begging after seven years

By Mohammad Asghar 2023-12-22
RAWALPINDI: After being spotted by his mother begging at Tahli Mohri Chowk on Tuesday, a mentally challenged former policeman-who had gone missing from his home in 2016-was reunited with his mother amid emotional scenes.

After the missing man was traced by her mother, the police rounded up four members of the beggars` gang, including three women, and launched an investigation to trace their accomplices.

Shaheen Akhtar, mother of the missing son, told Dawn that she received a phone call from one ofher son`s friends who shared his picture in which he was seen begging with other gang members.

Ms Akhtar recognised her son and was reunited with him after seven years on Tuesday. She said that his son was subjected to torture and given injections by the beggars` gang who had kept him in captivity.

Mustakeem Khalid was married in 2006 and was blessed with one son and a daughter, who are jubilant after finding their father. `A large number of villagers and relatives have thronged my house and everyone is happy and congratulating me on the reunion with my son,` she said.

Mr Khalid joined the police department in 2006 but could not continue his service due to typhoid fever which affected his mental health and later led to his disappearance. Since he suffered from a mental disorder, he used to leave his house andreturn after a few days, but he did not come back when he left his house in 2016.

Shaheen Akhtar, resident of Kallar Syedan, lodged an FIR with the Civil Lines police, saying that her son, who was mentally challenged, often used to leave his house due to depression and then the villagers used to bring him back. She said that her son left his house in 2016 but did not return despite a massive search launched to trace his whereabouts. She had not sought the police`s help at the time.

Oblivious to how and when her missing son would be found, she was going to visit her relatives with her nephew, residing in Tahli Mohri, when she recognised Mustakeem begging with a gang of beggars at Tahli Mohri Chowk on Tuesday night.

The gang of beggars comprised three women and two men -who belonged to Shikarpurwho were forcing her son to beg aftertakingadvantage ofhis disability. She said she hugged her son, but the women and men accompanying her son started thrashing and abusing her.

Upon observing the situation, the two male members of the gang, Zahid and Wahid, managed to escape the scene. The FIR stated that Mr Khalid was abducted and made incapacitated by the gang members to beg. She urged the police to bring the culprits to justice.

A police spokesman said that the gang leader, Wahid, was arrested in addition to three women, while raids were underway to arrest the remaining people. He said that Wahid, who was arrested later, is the real brother of Maryam and Sabina who had already been detained by the police. The raids were underway to arrest the other members of the gang.