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She didn’t come back

By: Ammar Shahbazi

She could write the names of all the family members, and would come running whenever her father called her to quickly jot down a phone number, which he often asked her to do while talking on his cell phone.

Six-year-old Alishba was the third in line of six siblings. When her family was informed by the police that a body that matched her description was found in the bushes near Karachi University and is lying at the Edhi Morgue, her father Nazeer Ahmed and grandfather Mohammed Siddique darted to the morgue.

“The moment I saw her body, I decided not to carry it home,” said Nazeer, sitting on a dressing table in a cramped bedroom at his house in Gorabad, Dastagir. “Her teeth were smashed, an eye gouged out, and the whole torso stitched.” He thought the women in his family won’t be able to bear the gory sight of her body.

“I put cotton on her vacant eye-hole, but the blood kept coming. She was like my child. She grew up in front of my eyes,” said Sayeeda Bibi, a neighbour, who washed Alishba’s body before the burial.

Alishba’s mother won’t talk. Her eyes are swollen from tears. She has been holding a picture of her child for the last two days and hysterically crying.

The family has been living in the area for the past 30 years. Nazeer Ahmed’s house was jam-packed with neighbours and relatives.

The voice of women emanated from inside, as neighbours gorge to pour in their condolences. The whole lane is practically filled with children and young men, as the case of Alishba’s murder became a national story — constantly being flashed on the electronic media for the past two days.

She was very mature for her age, says her grandfather. She went to take tuitions and regularly recited the Holy Qur’an with the Qari Sahb.

The park she went to play is a short stroll from her house — an everyday playground for the children of the area. But on that fateful day, a camel rider appeared from nowhere — a cause of serious excitement for the children.

After her disappearance, witness reports came one after the other. “One of my neighbour’s last saw her on the camel’s back, crying. The father came with his son to be a part of the FIR.”

Two other little girls also came up with the same account. “One of them claimed to have seen her screaming ‘I want to go to Ammi’ but the camel rider just took her away,” said Nazeer.

“The camel jockey was giving rides for Rs5, and the children were naturally animated.” Alishba’s seven-year-old brother had also gone along with her, but came home safe and sound. “She didn’t.”

Source: The News