My husband, Owais Raheel, is NOT a terrorist
My husband, Owais Raheel is a qualified electrical engineer, as well as an MBA degree holder from the Institute of Business Administration (IBA). Most importantly, he was a prominent faculty member at Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (SZABIST) and was loved by his students.
But he went missing on September 11, 2015.
On Friday, September 11, 2015, everything seemed to be going smoothly – just like any other ordinary day. We left our house and Owais dropped me to my parent’s house, and then headed towards SZABIST to conduct his daily lectures. I spoke to him on the phone at around 1 pm, after which he left for Masjid-e-Ibrahim in Defence, to offer his Friday prayers. I called him once I got done with my Friday prayers, only this time he didn’t answer my phone call. After a few minutes I tried calling again, but there was still no response. That is when I began to get worried because it wasn’t like him to not pick up my call, and if nothing else he always returned my calls.
Flustered, I decided to go to the mosque myself and there I saw his car parked nearby. I started asking passers-by whether they had seen my husband, to which they responded that they saw a man resembling my husband being picked up by two men in plain clothes and a uniformed policeman in a police mobile. Since Masjid-e-Ibrahim falls under the jurisdiction of the Gizri thana, I drove, my mind in a complete state of frenzy, to the Gizri police station to confirm if the information provided to me was accurate or not. The officers, seemingly oblivious, denied that any such incident had taken place.
Confused, I decided to go to the Boat Basin police station in Clifton, hoping to get some answers there. But there, the officers told me that the officials at the Gizri police station were lying to me and not giving me the true story. They said the authorities may have picked him and therefore they could not give any real answers. Feeling utterly helpless, I didn’t know who to turn to for answers so I finally lodged a complaint on 15. Even they refused to give me a complaint number. Disappointed and dejected, I turned to the DG rangers, different police stations, and finally the Citizens-Police Liaison Committee (CPLC) for help. Except for the CPLC, nobody helped. They said that since this seemed like an operation carried out by the Rangers, nobody could question it.
The following day, I went to the Gizri police station a second time to register an FIR. This time they started questioning me about my husband’s car being parked outside the mosque. They seemed to be more interested in the car than the whereabouts of my missing husband. I refused to comply with their unnecessary questions and was about to leave when the Station House Officer (SHO) of the police station came up to me and asked if I needed any assistance. But even after speaking to him, all that happened was a petty complaint was filed instead of an actual FIR.
With hope slipping away and days passing ever so slowly, it was on September 18th that we filed a petition in the Sindh High Court for a missing person’s case against all the concerned agencies. The court then issued notices to the concerned agencies. I needed answers, but all I could do was wait with bated breath. The hearing was going to be held on October 8th, 10 to 12 days after I filed the petition. I received a call from the sub-inspector of the Gizri police station who requested me to file an FIR, which is surprising, since these were the same people who refused to give me any answers the first time I went there. The FIR was finally registered by the Gizri police station on October 2nd.
Exactly two days before the hearing, on October 6th, my husband was making headlines,
“A highly qualified terrorist has been arrested by SSP CID Mazhar Mashwani from boat basin Clifton, in front of the Nihari Inn restaurant….”
I was in complete shock. They were labelling him with false allegations and creating one fake story after another.
This made me realise how irresponsible the media and newspapers are.
Where have journalistic ethics gone?
How can news organisations conveniently combine two to three differing news stories, create a mess, and present it to the public like that? Isn’t the job of a journalist or an anchor to run an independent investigation and only present facts that are 100 per cent authentic to their knowledge? No one in the media approached me for any answers. No one even cared if he had a family or not!
My husband is not the first one to have been through something like this; I don’t even know how many individuals have ended up in prison for speaking up about their beliefs. And while I feel the biggest criminals are those who abduct innocent people and title them as terrorists, the media obviously doesn’t see it that way.
My husband is an ordinary man. A gem of a person. He is an obedient son, a loving husband, a beloved brother, and a brilliant teacher. On January 23, 2015, I made the best decision of my life; I married Owais Raheel and since then he has proven himself to be an ideal husband. He is always looking for ways to help others. That is who my Owais is. He is not the man being portrayed by our irresponsible media.
He is a teacher. A respected teacher loved by all his students. And we miss him more with every passing day. He wasn’t there to celebrate Eidul Azha with us. Only God knows where he is and how the authorities have been treating him. His parents are ill and shaken by this incident. You see, my husband is the main caretaker of our household. He is ordinary man who was planning his sister’s wedding before he went missing. He was ordinary man who could have been your son, brother, husband or father. He was an ordinary citizen of this nation. He is just like YOU reading this right now. But he was picked by the authorities without any knowledge given to his family. I am his wife, I have no support because he was my support system and he is missing. And the worst of it all is that I can do nothing about it. I have knocked on every door possible, but no one comes out to help. He was a teacher. He was teaching the youth of this nation and this is how the nation paid him back – they took him away from his friends, family and students, and they brandished him a terrorist. I am his wife and I don’t know where my husband is. All I can do is pray to God that he comes home safe and sound, and demand his immediate release with the removal of all the false allegations levelled against him. And I will pray, fervently, for no one else to feel the way his family does today. I pray that no parents, mother, daughter, sister, children, brother or wife has to go through what we have been through. But I must remind you, he was an ordinary citizen, just like you.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.