Biggest Fashion Sale Of The Year! Shop 12 000 Up To 70% OFF!
Johannesburg - The family of a Meyerton businessman who disappeared in Pakistan have pleaded with the government to help facilitate his safe return.
Arshad Ali, 37, a prominent businessman in the Vaal, was abducted in Pakistan en route to South Africa last Tuesday.
He had travelled to his native country, Abu Dhabi, to fetch his mother so she could meet his two children for the first time.
His family have written to the South African high commissioner in Pakistan, Imran Hyder, for help.
The Star has seen a copy of the letter which was sent to both Hyder and the Department of International Relations and Co-operation (Dirco).
The letter details the events leading up to Ali’s abduction on September 10, saying Ali and his mother Irshad were travelling with his brother, who is based in Pakistan, when they were pulled over at a roadblock, about 40km from Allama Iqbal International Airport.
The roadblock was manned by Pakistan’s anti-terrorism and smuggling unit, the Federal Investigation Agency, and the country’s intelligence unit, Inter-Services Intelligence.
The duty officer, known only as Shamoon, reportedly ordered that the family’s vehicle be searched.
“At this point, another four men in a white double-cab… approached Shamoon and ordered (him) to hand over Mr Ali into their custody. For reasons unknown, Shamoon then handed over Mr Ali to the four unknown men,” the letter reads.
The businessman’s distraught wife Emel, 31, said they did not believe that Ali was kidnapped, saying he was simply taken by unknown men in full view of Pakistan police at the roadblock.
“Before he left, he hugged us, one by one. The last time I spoke to him when he was in Pakistan, he said, ‘look after our kids and send them to school’.
“Without him I am nothing. I hope somebody can help us so that he can come back home safely. I just want to hear his voice and that he is safe. I miss him too much.”
Emel was flanked by Ali’s cousins, Usman Ghani and Asif Ghaffar.
Tearfully, Emel said: “The kids keep on asking about his whereabouts. I am not sleeping, I am not eating.”
Ghani and Ghaffar say they are very distressed about Ali’s abduction, showing newspaper clips to The Star about the businessman distributing food parcels at the nearby Sicelo township days before he went missing.
“We don’t have any other relatives around and he was the only person, he was like a father figure to us - he helped us with everything,” explained Ghani.
Dirco spokesman Clayson Monyela said the department would “render consular services and engage all relevant agencies of government to look into the matter”.
On Monday morning, the South African government indicated that it would look into the matter.
"The matter is receiving attention and the appropriate consular services will be rendered," spokesman Clayson Monyela told Sapa.
Additional reporting by Kristen van Schie
The Star and Sapa