• 22 Dec - 28 Dec, 2018
  • Nadeem Alam
  • Fiction

He promised me to do the same and remained in contact with me till he went to see his parents. As the time passed, I started getting worried. I was about to call my source in Ghotki when I received a call from Ghulam Rasul’s number.

I attended the call impatiently, yelling.

“GR, where were you, why your phone was switched off, are you all right…?”

There was no response for a few seconds. I waited impatiently. Then I heard a desolate female voice:


My heart sank and I forgot to breathe for a while. My hand began trembling. I heard my own voice as coming from a well.


I heard few nippy breaths and the call got disconnected. I dialled back Ghulam Rasul’s number almost one hundred times but it was not responding. I also dialled the village PCO number. It was 4 a.m. in Pakistan and PCO was definitely closed. I then suddenly recalled that I had Resham’s number in my phone directory. I started searching for it frantically.

While going through the contact list, I recalled that I had deleted Resham’s number soon after I pressed the remote control button to explode V8 of Seth Ramzan. I was getting panicky. I came out of my beech hut. It was mid night and high tide. I was standing at the bottom of the staircase leading to sea water. I looked at the moon and it felt like Resham was gazing at me. Something was wrong. All my senses were heightened. I believed she needed my help. I walked back, turned on my laptop and booked the first flight to Karachi. I knew it was not safe to go back as I had assassinated the biggest don of the city just a few days ago. People whose interests were protected by Seth Ramzan must now be after my life but I did not have to stay in the city for long. I planned to go to Ghotki right after I land at Karachi airport. I even decided of not going to my apartment. I had to rent a car from airport and go straight to Hyderabad. From there I planned to send the car back and steal some vehicle or use public transport to reach Ghotki.

My flight was to leave Johannesburg at 4 p.m. I was in Durban and it would take me exactly 6 hours to reach Johannesburg by road. Instead of going by road, I booked the flight which would leave Durban at 12 noon and will reach Johannesburg at 1 p.m. Thereafter, I had sufficient time to catch my next 12 hours flight to Karachi via Dubai. I was to land at Jinnah International by next morning. I did not have much stuff to pack. Now I only had to wait till I proceed to Durban airport at 10 am. I tried to sleep but I couldn’t. I again dialled Ghulam Rasul’s number few times and then also dialled the village PCO but to no avail. I was sure that something was wrong but what actually had happened was simply beyond my imagination.


I was thinking that Ghulam Rasul went to see his sick mother. One possibility was that there was no cellphone coverage in the village. He was using his South African cell phone number and getting roaming service through collaboration with a Pakistani cellular company. Due to limited coverage of that particular cell phone company, Ghulam Rasul might not be getting signals on his phone. Then I thought why would he go to Resham at that time of the night and then make her talk to me? Why did he not call me himself? And was it really Resham? There were so many questions bugging my mind and I was getting worried. If Ghulam Rasul’s number was having signal problems and there was some urgent need to talk to me then he would have used someone else’s phone to call me. The things did not seem okay. There were strong indications of something gone wrong. I couldn’t sit idle and wait for them to call me again. I had to intervene and do something before it’s too late.

It was now 5 a.m. in Pakistan and I thought of calling my source. I often called him and sent him money to remain updated with situation in my village. I had been asking him about my brothers, parents of Ghulam Rasul and Resham. He kept me apprised with the worthwhile news. He picked up his cell phone on third ring. He was probably already awake and preparing for morning prayers. I informed him that Ghulam Rasul is in Ghotki and that he went to see his parents last night. I further told him that Ghulam Rasul is out of contact with me since then. Then I told him about the call I received from Ghulam Rasul’s number, which I was assuming to have been made by Resham. This made him curious a little bit. He was aware of my situation and he knew that I did not want to be in direct contact with my relatives or Resham due to their safety. I was being hunted by underworld mafia more than the law enforcement agencies. Ghulam Rasul also knew about these circumstances. So, Resham calling me from Ghulam Rasul’s number was something to be worried about. My source promised me to proceed to my village soon after saying his prayers. He had a motorbike and would probably reach there in two hours. Till then, I had to sit with my fingers crossed.

Next few hours turned out to be like an eternity to me. Time does not pass when you are waiting for somebody or some news to break. I wondered how Resham spent last twenty years waiting for me to return and take her away. At least, she was safe.

That was my only consolation. But after all these years, I could not let anything happen to her. I will never forgive myself if she is hurt because of me. I had decided at one time in my life to leave everything behind, take Resham and go to some unknown place in the world. But I was scared that my past will haunt me forever. My sins were bound to destroy my family life. I, therefore, had to live alone and lift the burden of my misdeeds on my own shoulders. I did not even want to discuss it with Resham. She had never objected to any of my decisions before and I was sure she would not reject this one too. I was though hoping against all the hopes that something will change. I had turned forty this year but I still dreamed of a world comprising of children only. I dreamed of a world where there were no grownups and no problems. I dreamed of having my own children and then suddenly something bad happens to them. Someone from my wicked past takes them away. I feel helpless and desolate. I see Resham with scattered hair and bleeding eyes, begging me to bring back her children. I have these nightmares every night. Ghosts of my past would not let me live peacefully. Time for slayer to cut the dragon was approaching fast.


My source called me after three hours and informed me that he he had met with Chacha Boota and found out that Ghulam Rasul reached there last night at 11 pm. He stayed there for about three hours and then left after promising them to return again next night. There was everything alright at my brother’s place but he discovered something strange about Resham. As per his information, Resham was not at her home. His old father told my source that she has gone to Karachi with her brother after she received some call yesterday morning. He did not have any other clue about her whereabouts. He had talked to them when they had reached Ghotki as they had to catch a train for Karachi last night. My source got cell numbers of both Resham and her brother, and dialled the numbers couple of times but both the numbers were switched off. My source told Resham’s father that he should not worry as either their cellphone batteries must have drained or they might be passing from out of coverage area. I thanked my source and told him to go back to Ghotki and wait for my next instructions. I also transferred some money to his account and asked him to arrange accommodation and transport for me as I would be reaching there next morning. Now I had three numbers and they were all switched off. I still had few hours before my flight to Johannesburg so I thought of using my Karachi contacts to find out last known location of these numbers.

Money makes the mare go. Within next few hours, I was in knowledge of the last known location of the cell phones of Ghulam Rasul, Resham and her brother. They all had switched off in the out skirts of Ghotki in the area of same cell tower. It cannot be a coincidence. Earlier, I was of the opinion that Ghulam Rasul had found out my hand in the killing of Hashim Khan and manipulating his father. I had thought that Ghulam Rasul was now taking revenge from me. He knew my only weak spot was Resham and he had kidnapped her. But once I found out that Resham had left village with her brother even before arrival of Ghulam Rasul in Ghotki then I got suspicious. The matter was more serious than I had thought it to be. I knew that Ghulam Rasul would never hurt Resham. All he would want was to force me to come to Pakistan and clear his name from the murder. The things seemed different now. If Ghulam Rasul had kidnapped Resham then I would have received his call by now. It was silence from all ends which was not good. There was nothing much I could do from Durban. My flight time was approaching fast. I picked up some stuff, hired a cab and reached the airport to board the flight to Johannesburg. After an hour and ten minutes, I landed in Johannesburg and proceeded to check in for my flight to Dubai, from where I had to catch my flight to Karachi.

After boarding my flight to Karachi from Dubai, I started having anxiety attacks. I was worried about my own safety first as I was going back to the city where I had just recently assassinated the don of Karachi. No official heir of Seth Ramzan had surfaced yet and the fight for the rein was at peak. Killing the don’s assassin would certainly help the fighting groups in claiming the throne. I had to be very cautious. News of my departure from Johannesburg would have already reached aggrieved parties in Karachi and I was pretty sure that there would be two to three groups waiting eagerly for me outside Jinnah International. The risk of going out of the airport was immense. I, therefore, decided to stay inside airport building and take any domestic flight to Lahore or if possible to any nearby city to Ghotki. I landed at Karachi airport at about 5 in the morning and luckily got into the flight for Sukkur at about 6.30 am. Ghotki was just couple of hours from Sukkur. While I was travelling in a hired cab from Sukkur to Ghoti, I checked my network and internet connection. They were working fine at this place. I was seated in the back of the car and was now worried about the three missing persons. I had contacted my source and informed him about my arrival. There was no new information about them. Their cellphones were still switched off. I remembered that I had obtained the last known location of the cellphone tower. I opened the Google map and searched for the said location where all three phones were switched off and suddenly I started having goose bumps. I stopped breathing for a while. My heart was racing fast and my eyes were fixed on a house which was just 500 meters from the location of cell tower. It had a peculiar shape and I recognised it instantly. Fifteen years ago, I had kept Ghulam Rasul after his abduction from police in this house. It was the same house where I had poisoned the curly haired man.

to be continued...