Anees Takar

Sher Faraz, a 40-year-old from Rustam, Mardan, and his 24-year-old neighbor, Bilal, were lured to Rahim Yar Khan, Punjab, under the pretext of purchasing a low-cost vehicle a few days ago. In Rahim Yar Khan, they were allegedly seized by the Salti and Umar groups from the Kashmore Kacha area in Sindh, who held them captive and demanded a ransom of 2 crore rupees from their families.

Sher Ali, the father of Sher Faraz, recounted that on September 21, his son set out to Rahim Yar Khan accompanied by his neighbor, Bilal, in pursuit of an affordable vehicle. Unfortunately, they fell victim to an ambush by bandits. According to him, the last contact they had was from Rahim Yar Khan, after which their mobile phones remained switched off. Despite their efforts, they have been unable to reestablish contact.

The abductors, affiliated with the Umar and Salti groups in Sindh’s rural Kashmore area, demanded a two crore rupees ransom for the release of the two captives.

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In response to this crisis, Sudhum Loya Jirga leaders, local residents, and Mardan Tehsil Mayor Himayatullah Mayar held a demonstration in front of the Mardan Press Club, led by Mayor Himayatullah Mayar himself. Sudhum Loya Jirga leaders called for the immediate recovery of the two individuals abducted from Mardan’s Rustam Tehsil last month by the kidnappers in Sindh.

During the protest, Mayor Himayatullah Mayar expressed that the existence of an alternative authority within the country is unacceptable. He urged both the federal and provincial governments to take decisive action in rescuing the captives, emphasizing that criminals involved in such activities operate with impunity, contravening the constitution of Pakistan.

While a formal report was filed in the Rustam police station on September 21st at 12 o’clock, indicating that Sher Faraz and Bilal have been missing since September 21, no significant efforts have been initiated to secure their release, leaving them in the clutches of the abductors.

Sudhum Loya Jirga leaders voiced their dissatisfaction with the lack of progress made by the police in the case. They emphasized that it is the responsibility of the police to safeguard the lives and property of the people. Higher-ranking officials are urged to play an active role in securing the release of the captives; otherwise, there may be highway protests, potentially leading to the highway’s closure to all traffic.

Following the demonstration at the Mardan Press Club, a delegation led by City Mayor Himayatullah Mayar met with Commissioner Mardan Division, Shaukat Ali Yousafzai, at his office.

The delegation included political and community leaders, legal professionals, and representatives from the Rustam business community. The delegation briefed Commissioner Mardan about the incident and, in response, Commissioner Mardan Shaukat Ali Yousafzai took immediate action by contacting the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Home Department and Sindh Chief Secretary Dr. Fakhr e Alam Irfan via phone, informing them about the situation and the growing concern among the people.

Commissioner Mardan Shaukat Ali Yousafzai assured the delegation that all available resources will be employed to secure the release of the two individuals from Rustam, and the Chief Secretary of Sindh has also offered assurances in this regard.