- 09 Feb - 15 Feb, 2019
Murders at the Orphanage
- 07 Jul - 13 Jul, 2018
Present Day, 8:00 PM
At a Islamabad police station, a 55-year-old man was sitting on a chair wearing handcuffs. The left side of his forehead was bleeding slightly. Through his facial expressions, it seemed as if he was quite angry but he was actually waiting for someone to show up.
Minutes later, a police constable passed by and he stopped him to ask, “Where is the head inspector? Why have I been brought here?”
“Just wait and stay quiet!” the constable replied with a harsh tone.
He got angrier seeing the cop’s attitude.
However after few minutes, the police inspector came and sat on the
“So Mr Yousufzai, Jahangir Yousafzai,” the inspector spoke, “you know why you’re here, do you?”
“I have no idea. Please tell me. Your men are calling me a murderer and I swear I haven’t killed anyone, ever in my life.”
“Calm down. Calm down. I’ll hear everything from you. You’ll be given a chance to speak.”
“Look sir, I don’t know what I’m here for. I was with my wife, having a great evening when your ill-mannered cops forcefully dragged me outside and brought me here.”
“I see…” the police inspector listened to him and let him speak.
“They even hit me,” Jahangir said pointing towards the wound on his forehead. “See this.”
“So, you were with your wife?”
“I’ve heard that you’ve married a lot of women. How many wives do you have?”
“That’s none of your concern!”
“And if it helps your case here?”
“Ok… six.” Jahangir replied quite reluctantly, avoiding eye contact.
“I see. Anyway, you stay here,” the inspector spoke as he stood up. “I’ll be back in a while.”
“Where are you going?”
The inspector held Jahangir’s shoulder and said, “Relax.”
Then he walked towards another room inside the police station. A 30-year-old man was sitting there. He stood up seeing the police inspector.
“So Mr Babar,” the police inspector said looking at him, “you’re the one who filed the report against him?”
They both sat down face to face on separate sofas.
“Mr Babar,” the inspector spoke calmly, “what do you know about Jahangir Yousufzai?”
“Not so much but as far as his personal life is concerned, I know that he has been married a lot of times.”
“More than ten times. I’ve heard from two different sources.”
“More than ten times? But I was told six times…”
“No, I don’t think that’s true. Anyway, he has married different women during different times. Once, he had just one wife. And for most of his divorces, he was the one who broke up the marriage and for no reason at all.”
“But that’s not important here. What I’m here to tell you is that, plenty of the caretakers in an orphanage were murdered and we highly suspect him for the murders.”
“Orphanage murders,” the inspector recalled something, “Yes, I remember this case. In fact, I was told about this a week ago.”
“So, I have come here to tell you that he should be interrogated regarding this case.”
“But on what grounds Mr. Babar? You’ll have to present witnesses, evidences or if nothing, then at least a motive.”
“Don’t worry about that sir. I have all of them.”
“Really, can you present any of them right now?”
“If you allow me, I can tell you the story from the beginning? Starting one month back,”
Inspector gained interest. “Sure, go on.” he spoke.
Babar began narrating:
“I was at home when my cell phone began to ring. It was Shahzaib Manzoor, owner of the orphanage. I answered his call, “Hello Mr Shahzaib,”
“Hello Babar, how are you?”
“Are you busy at the moment?”
“No, not really,”
“I need a favour from you,” the caller spoke.
“Okay, what is it?”
“I can’t tell you on the phone. I want to meet you for this,”
“Is everything ok?”
“Yes, everything’s fine. Why don’t you come drop by and meet me during lunch time?”
“Yes, if you can,”
“Ok, I’ll come,” I replied after giving it a thought.
After I disconnected the call, I felt a bit curious as to what he must be asking for. Would I be able to favour him? Should I even favour him? If you ask me now, my answer to both the questions would be ‘no’.
Next afternoon, as I was standing outside Mr Shahzaib’s orphanage, Mr Shahzaib himself came outside to receive me. He took me inside and welcomed me quite warmly. Through his gestures it was quite clear that he needed a huge favor from me. I had however made my mind that I would try my best to say ‘yes’ to him.
He spoke while we were in his office, “Babar my friend, day after tomorrow I have to leave for Malaysia. My father is quite ill and I have to go and see if he is being properly taken care of in the hospital.”
“Oh God, I’m sorry to hear that.”
“No, don’t be, I just need a favour from you because I know you’re quite responsible and reliable.”
I immediately understood what he was going to ask and also decided that I wouldn’t say no to it.
“Just like last year,” he spoke, “I want you to look after the kids in the orphanage.”
“Not yet Babar, there’s more you need to know…”
I paid close attention.
“I have hired some new caretakers,” he explained. “But they are not ordinary people. Those men are criminals.”
“Criminals? But why have you hired them?”
“Because I was running short of caretakers and I needed more staff who’d work for less money. These new people are willing to do this job for free.”
“Free? Why on earth would they do it for free?”
“They want to gain good reputation. They don’t want to be labelled as criminals anymore.”
“Exactly what kind of criminals are they?”
“They were child abusers and killers. Or perhaps, they are just labelled as criminals because police has found no evidence to prove their crimes.”
“So, they are just convicted as abusers?”
“Exactly, and they are here just to clear their reputation and prove it to the society that they are children loving people.”
“How many are they?”
“They are four. Young adults, about your age.”
“Are they partners or affiliated together?”
“No, they’re strangers to each other. In fact, they are from different cities. This has happened before, people like these often come here and try to do welfare for the society. It’s all about showing off, just to brighten their reputation.”
“I see…” I understood the situation.
“Anyways, your job is to keep an eye on everything that goes around here.”
“Just keep an eye?”
“A vigilante eye.”
“Remember, these new caretakers can still be very dangerous.”
I got a bit frightened and somehow regretted my decision of saying yes to him.
“I want you to come tomorrow morning,” he continued speaking, “bring your bags and other stuff.”
“Ok, will you introduce me to the new caretakers?”
“You want me to?”
“Yes, definitely. I mean, at least I should know who they are specifically, so I can keep a careful eye over them.”
“Oh, don’t worry about that.”
After saying this, he opened a drawer and took out four forms with photographs attached over them. He handed those to me and said, “You can have a look at their pictures in this.”
I held the forms and looked at their pictures and names.
“Anything else you need to ask before taking over?” he asked.
“Well, a bit of details about the kids would be great.”
“Yes, of course. The kids here are mostly… in fact, all of them are under ten. The oldest of them is 11 years old who can’t speak. He is mute.”
“Just mute or deaf as well?”
“No, just mute.”
He gave me a few more instructions regarding the rooms and different departments of the orphanage.
Next afternoon, the two of us were standing in the same room just the way as yesterday. The only difference was that we both held our suitcases. I was planning to stay in while Mr Shahzaib was preparing to leave.
“Take these,” he spoke while handing over a set of keys.
I took the keys from him and smiled as if accepting the responsibility handed over to me.
He left the room and walked outside. I kept the keys on the table and sat on the chair next to the desk.
An hour later, I went outside, towards the garden where few six to eight-year-old kids were playing on swings. As I looked at those orphan kids having a good time laughing, I felt very peaceful.
An 11-year-old kid passed by my side. I stopped him and held him by his shoulder. He seemed a bit frightened as he looked at me. I said to him, “Don’t be scared kid, I am your friend. What is your name?”
He didn’t speak anything. He didn’t answer me. I asked again, “What’s your name kid?”
He hastily took out a piece of crumpled paper from his pocket and handed it over to me. I opened it and read. His name ‘Taha Kirmani’ was mentioned on that paper. After reading it and seeing that he wasn’t speaking a single word, I realised that he was that mute kid Mr Shahzaib told me about. So I just gave him a pat on his shoulder and allowed him to go.
I walked both, inside and outside the orphanage and saw the kids in their rooms. The newly hired caretakers were also kind to these kids.
For a whole week, I spent my time like this, watching the kids and keeping an eye on the caretakers, until one day.
One day, quite unexpectedly, in the evening, I was talking to one of the caretakers, who was not newly hired, regarding the food that was being provided to the kid. We were talking quite calmly until we heard kids screaming. We got quite shaken and stood up. I rushed to see what happened.
As I walked towards the corridor, I saw a bunch of young kids standing outside a particular room. They were all looking inside the room. Some of them were crying and the others seemed scared. I made my way and reached the spot outside the room. As I peeked inside the room, I saw a man of my age lying dead on the ground. He was bleeding. His face was hardly visible. I fearfully went inside the room and tried to take a closer look at his face without touching his body. I recognised him immediately. He was one of the newly hired caretakers.
“What happened?” I heard someone’s voice from behind.
The other caretakers, new and old, were all had gathered outside to see.
“Who did this?” I asked, turning my head around to face them.
Everyone outside the room was pushing each other trying to see what had happened. I walked outside and asked the kids, “Who did this?”
The kids didn’t answer my question properly and kept saying how they found a man lying dead in their room. I calmed them down and asked, “Did you see anyone leaving this room? Or entering
The kids still didn’t answer my question and kept speaking in shock. I thought that I could find the truth only through the kids but they weren’t helpful at all.
One of the caretakers came closer and said to me, “Should we file an FIR?”
“No, not yet,” I refused his suggestion straight away.
“Why not? A guy has been murdered here.”
“Trust me, we might get in trouble. We can’t do this right now, we just can’t.”
“You…” I said to another caretaker standing by, who was one of the newly hired ones, “move all the kids to the other rooms. Shift their beds, blankets and everything. And don’t come near the dead body!”
“Please do it as quickly as you can, I need to investigate this on my own.”