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Monday, March 21, 2011

Tale Of Pakistani Policemen Murdered In Bahrain

Salman Siddiqui [Express Tribune]

KARACHI: Kashif Mehmood joined the Bahraini police force soon after he graduated from the Pakistani school in Bahrain.

He wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps who joined the Bahraini police after migrating from Gujranwala’s Mandi Bahauddin area, some 30 years ago.

No one from Kashif’s family of four siblings and parents could imagine that one day the 20-year-old’s life would be cut short as brutally as it was last Wednesday.

Kashif was lynched and murdered by an angry mob when a police unit, which Kashif was a part of, was ordered to move in against protesters gathered at Pearl Square in Manama.

The nightmare for Kashif’s family, however, did not end at his death. Gruesome images and videos of his death  have appeared all over the internet. Many have also posted hateful and racist slogans under them, against the Pakistani community in Bahrain.

“I haven’t slept in days,” says Ali, Kashif’s 18-year-old brother, while speaking over the phone as he emailed video links of his brother’s murder.

He sounded horrified when he said that houses of Pakistanis, especially those employed with the security forces, were being marked by protesters, to be attacked later.

Farooq Baloch
Kashif, and another Bahraini policeman of Pakistani origin, Farooq Baloch, were on duty together on Wednesday, when an operation against the protesters was launched. 

Amid the chaos, the two young policemen, armed just with sticks, broke away from their unit and sought help from an approaching ambulance. Little did they know that the rescue van was actually loaded with protestors.

The ambulance ran them over, killing Baloch who had married three months ago and the sole breadwinner for his family.

Kashif, who barely survived the first onslaught, was kidnapped and taken to an empty ground.

Videos posted online show that groups of young men then took turns in kicking and clobbering with sticks Kashif’s lifeless body.

Even though it was apparent that he was dead, the protesters proceeded to mutilate his body, with groups of young men in their SUVs repeatedly running over the corpse.

The incident bore an eerie resemblance to the Sialkot lynching incident, where the onlookers cheered on as the victim was tortured.

Ali says his father sent his mother back to Gujranwala a few days ago. They have yet to tell her that her son died in such a horrific manner.
Both Kashif and Farooq were buried in Bahrain.

Another victim of the protestors’ wrath was the 54-year-old Saifullah Mohammad Ibrahim, who remains in critical condition after being severely injured in the attacks.

He worked in the police department and moved from Punjab decades ago, to settle in Bahrain.

“When [the protestors] took my uncle to the Lulu roundabout, they not only tortured him, but also heckled him for being a Pakistani,” said Maheen, a relative of Saifullah.

While humiliating him, the protesters chanted “Down down Pakistan, go back to your country,” Maheen added.

At least four Bahrainis of Pakistani origin have been reportedly killed and several dozens injured in the on-going crisis.

The security situation in the country remains volatile even though the state claimed that the protest was successfully being put down by Arab League-backed troops.

The main worry, however, for the Pakistani expatriates, is that the friction that this crisis has created in the Bahraini society will take years to repair.

When asked whether his family was considering leaving Bahrain for good, Ali said that although they were in shock, no one is thinking about leaving Bahrain or going back to Pakistan.

We were born and brought up in Bahrain, how could we just leave our home like that, he said.

“I’m going nowhere. I will join the police force like Kashif,” he added.

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