- 09 Feb - 15 Feb, 2019
- 15 Dec - 21 Dec, 2018
He kept peeking in the room and after about ten minutes, he gave me a special signal and went inside. I drove the jeep to back side of the restaurant. It was lunch time and there were two buses already parked in front with one tractor trolley, couple of cars and few motor bikes. Nobody noticed me riding the jeep towards the backside. The restaurant staff was busy with handling the lunch time rush. The curly haired man locked the room from inside and opened the back door. We had carefully selected this restaurant keeping these aspects in mind. I entered the room and found everybody unconscious. We got Ghulam Rasul freed from handcuffs and then escorted him to our jeep. We, however, tied his hands and feet and covered his mouth so that he does not panic when he comes back into senses. Within three minutes, we had completed our operation and were driving back to Ghotki. I was sure that by the time police party comes into senses, we will be far from their reach.
We had no plans of entering into Ghotki city because we were aware that police check would be intimidated within few hours. After driving for about ten minutes, we reached a place where the curly haired man had already occupied. He had driven in the rented car and had parked it on a road side. We abandoned our jeep there as it was now a prime target of the police. We had stolen this jeep from Hyderabad and have been using the same after changing its registration number plate. We shifted the unconscious Ghulam Rasul to the car. I took control of the driving seat and drove to a house which we had rented in the outskirts of the city. It was relatively a big house as compared to other houses in the vicinity.
It was about 2:30 p.m. and temperature was touching 50 degrees Celsius. The area seemed deserted. In this heat and at this time of day, nobody generally ventures out in the sun without any purpose. We were stocked with all necessary things including food and medicines. Ghulam Rasul was breathing fine. We had shifted him to a room where temperature was quite normal. I sent the curly haired man to return the rented car as its absence may raise some doubts. I told him to come back on walking after the sun sets. He edited the clip of Chacha Boota in the handicam and then left. After he was gone, I sat on a chair looking at Ghulam Rasul and waiting for him to regain consciousness. I had big plans for him.
I was getting worried as three hours had passed and Ghulam Rasul was not regaining consciousness. There curly haired man had not returned yet. It was about 5 pm and I was hoping that he would come after sunset. I switched on the television and kept changing the news channels but there was no news of any prisoner escaping police custody. This area was probably too remote and the news had not spread. I was also thinking that what if police party was still lying unconscious in the restaurant. As these thoughts were going through my mind, I felt Ghulam Rasul moving. I suddenly got alert and started waiting for him to get back into senses. In about five minutes, he was fully awake. He was holding his head and then rubbing his eyes. He then looked at me with no signs of recognition and then looked around. He got up and was now seated on the bed. I gave him water to drink.
“Do you know me Ghulam Rasul?”
I was still wearing beard but he instantly recognised my voice. He had been my best friend for almost twenty-five years. He jumped up from the bed and hugged me. Just like his father, he also had so many questions.
“Where have you been, where am I, what is this place, how did I get out of police custody?”
I made him sit and then narrated him the whole story in few short sentences.
“I had come back to meet you but I found out that you have been arrested in a murder case which I am sure you have not committed but police has evidence against you. I met your father who begged me to get you out of police custody. I could not bear my only friend being convicted of a crime he never committed. I had to do something and so I got you out,” I said.
He did not seem satisfied with my answer and had so many other questions to which I replied. I wanted him to trust me fully and go with me to South Africa. I showed him video of his father.
“We believe in you but the court will believe in the evidence and now after your escape from police custody there is just no chance of you staying here in this country. I will send you abroad and after sometime will also make arrangements for your parents to be with you.”
He bowed his head down and said in a very dejected voice, “They will never leave the village.”
The curly haired man returned at about 8 pm. He took me to another room and told me that police is hunting for Ghulam Rasul all around. He further told me that police party was discovered unconscious by hotel manager later sometime. They were taken to a hospital in Ghotki where they regained consciousness except Chacha Boota who is still unconscious and is kept in intensive care. We had to keep this information secret from Ghulam Rasul. First thing I did was to cut the cable so that we do not get any access to news. Then I told the curly haired man to go back immediately and get two Karachi-bound train tickets. After he left, I joined Ghulam Rasul and started talking about the golden days we had.
He was now a little relaxed. I told him that everything would be fine. He had also probably realised that there was no other option but to escape from the police custody. He was, though, a little concerned about his parents that police might harass them. I told him that I would take care of them. He then told me about Resham and that she was still waiting for me. He asked me to meet her once before leaving the place.
The curly haired man returned on a stolen motorbike at 10:30 p.m. with food and two train tickets. We had very little time left as the train would leave Ghotki at 11:30 p.m. Ghulam Rasul was faking his identity wearing the beard that I was wearing before. I then drove the motorbike with Ghulam Rasul seated behind me. Very little time was left for us. There was, however, no time left for the curly haired man. He knew too much about me. The thing he did not know was that I had added the double dose of my special ingredient in his food. I was sure he would not wake up from this house and no one will recover his dead body any time sooner as I had already paid two months advance rent of this house.
It was not very difficult for me to arrange for a new identity card and a passport for Ghulam Rasul. The prisoner escaping police custody from a remote interior Sindh town had become news of the past. Chacha Boota also regained consciousness after few days but his condition was not so good. His fragile medical condition in fact prevented police from investigating him. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise for us. I had been getting this information from a source I had planted in Ghotki. He also informed me that a dead body of an unknown man had been recovered from a rented house in outskirts of Ghotki. Police has not yet been able to identify him and establish his link with some other crime. The house was rented on a fake identity card and owner of the house was under police custody.
I was able to arrange visa for Ghulam Rasul within two weeks of our arrival in Karachi. These two weeks were a constant tension for me as Ghulam Rasul wanted to talk to his father. He did not know that his father was in a hospital fighting the battle for his life.
Mobile phones were not very common in those days. There were landlines and in our village there was only one public call office.
I had to keep Ghulam Rasul under my close watch so that he does not make any attempt to call his father. I had told him that police would be keeping a tap on phone. I had promised him that I would let him call his parents from South Africa. By that time I was hopeful that his father will be fine.
On June 25, 2003, I was seated besides Ghulam Rasul on a Johannesburg bound flight. I spent the whole month there and got him settled, handing him over my business. My source in Ghotki informed me that Chacha Boota is alright now and had been discharged from the hospital. I called Chacha Boota and told him that Ghulam Rasul was out of the country. I then told him that Ghulam Rasul would call you and that you should tell him that everything is fine at your end.
Later that day, I called back my village and let Ghulam Rasul talk to his parents. He kept crying and wanting to see them but he was told to stay there and never ever think of coming back to the village.
I came back to Karachi and restarted my usual business. I had been absent from the scene for about two months and there were many rumours spread about me. Not only that I had to dispel all those rumours but I needed to establish my credibility as well. There was too much market for bloodshed in Karachi and very soon I was given a contract to kill a prominent leader of a particular sect. He was an easy target. I followed him for a couple of days. He lived in Orangi with his family and was very vocal about the other sect. He was a middle aged man and had a motorcycle. He was always accompanied by someone. I had been looking for an opportunity to find him alone. On the third day, when I was following him from mosque to the party office, he was alone. I was happy that today my job will be done. I over took him from a crowded place, went ahead and started waiting for him at relatively deserted street. I had already studied the area and was sure that there was no camera installed in that location. As soon as he entered that street, he spotted me standing at a distance on a motorbike with helmet on my head and with a hand hiding in my jacket. He was no fool. He immediately stopped, turned his bike and entered a narrow street. I did not expect him to be so aware of the surroundings and learnt a very important lesson that day – never expose yourself before the shooting. That person escaped that day. Couple of days later, I shot him point blank in the crowded market where he did not expect me.
My business in South Africa was blooming at full swing. Ghulam Rasul was an honest and hardworking person. He genuinely took me as his saviour and helped me prosper in all aspects. He used to talk to his parents every now and then and had been sending them money regularly. His two sisters got married. He was sad that he could not attend their marriage but was satisfied since he bore all the expenses. I had been visiting South Africa every three months to relax and chill. I had asked Ghulam Rasul to get married but he always avoided the topic. His parents were now very old and he wanted to go see them one last time. Fifteen years had passed by and he was now sure that nobody would be looking for him. It was the time when I had killed Seth Ramzan and was hiding in my beach hut in Durban. Ghulam Rasul called me and told me that his mother is very sick and that he wants to go to Pakistan. I tried to talk him out of it but he insisted on going. After such a long time, I also did not see any risk in it. I advised him to stay in Ghotki and only visit his parents at night and return before morning.
to be continued...