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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 8/15/08

OEN Colleague Muhammad Khurshid Safe in Peshawar

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Approaching nearly two weeks with no contact, this morning I got word from Muhammad Khurshid that he was safe in Peshawar. In the last couple of hours I've received a few emails from Muhammad briefly describing the chaos in which he was trapped and the horrors he has witnessed.

After many days of being caught between the fighting of insurgents and security forces, he was able to escape. His wife Fatima and their four children, however, remain in Khar.

He is clearly exhausted but he briefly describes the nightmare of the situation in the tribal areas of the Bajaur Agency and how he is worried sick about the safety and well being of his family. He is doing everything in his power to contact them, but thus far, to no avail.

He asked that I let everyone know he is safe and of the plight of his family and all of those who are caught in the continued violence of his tribal village. From what he has witnessed, he believes thousands have been killed, many women and children, thousands more are attempting to flee the areas.

I have excerpted parts of my personal correspondence with Muhammad and have copied them below. He needs our help in any way we can offer it. Once again, Rob Kall and I ask that if you are able, any meager contribution for Muhammad to assist him in getting his family out of Khar and finding a safe place for relocation would be greatly and humbly appreciated. $5, $10, whatever you might be able to afford will make a difference. Most of us are hurting financially, but perhaps by combining our small donations we can make a difference in the lives of one family caught in the violence along the Pak-Afghan border.

Many of us here think of Muhammad Khurshid as our friend. There are times in life when we are fortunate enough to form meaningful connections without ever having met that person -- but the bond is deep and profound and these connections with our fellow human beings are at times, as close to our hearts as those who are physically present in our day to day lives.

Thank you, and from Muhammad, his deep gratitude to all at OEN.

August 15th Email excerpts:

Dearest Jan,
I have tears in my eyes while writing this email to you. I am really grateful for everything. I remained trapped in fighting between the security forces and terrorists in Bajaur Agency. All the roads leading to Bajaur Agency are still closed. I have just reached Peshawar after great difficulties. Fatima and children are still there as I am still unable to shift them from the area. I am very, very sorry for the delay in the response, but I was unable to communicate as the jet fighters are still bombing Bajaur Agency. The power
system has been broken down completely. Now I am in The Statesman (in Peshawar), but I am still so worried about Fatima and my children. Please forgive me if I am writing something wrong as at the moment I am in great depression. I am just writing this email to you to inform you that at the moment I am okay. Fatima and children are also okay. But we are in great trouble. Please accept my thanks and regard for your kindness and love. At the moment I do not know how to present my thanks and gratitude as I am in real trouble. Please pray for my Fatima and my children. I have spent last ten days sleepless. Fatima and children also remained sleepless. .Again thank you very much for your kindness and love. Your best friend Muhammad Khurshid


Dearest Jan,
After reaching Peshawar I have established contact with you. I have also received messages from ____, but so far I am unable to establish contact with him as I am very tired. I have seen hundreds of people killed in front of my eyes. On my way to Peshawar I have seen several dead bodies lying on the roadside. I have no exact figure of death toll, but hundreds of people have been killed in the violence. Thousands or more (many lakh) people migrated from Bajaur Agency. Therefore, I am very disturbed and depressed. I have also worry for Fatima and children.

Dearest Jan,
You have already done a lot for me, but if you write a diary on my situation it will certainly give me help. In this way Bajaur Agency will come into focus where the lives of lakhs people are still in danger. Please if you have the time write about the areas and about my family. I shall be grateful for this act of kindness. I do not afraid of death. My concern is to save my areas and my family from further violence. Alot of thanks and please forgive me for bothering you again and again, but you are my only friend with whom I can share my pain.
Again thank you very much
Yours best friend Muhammad Khurshid

Last contact:

Dearest Jan
I want to shift my family to a safer place, but this is not my final decision. If order is restored in our areas then we will stay in our areas, but at the moment I want to bring the family to Peshawar. I think this will be better to shift my family to Peshawar. Do you agree with my proposal?  Actually our house was also damaged slightly during the bombing by helicopters. Now living in that house will be dangerous. Fatima and children are also feeling fear and terror.

I received permission from Muhammad to write this piece about his situation and to share the plight of his family and his village.

If you can contribute in some small way to assist Muhammad and his family please contact Rob Kall through OEN or write to him at: 211 N. Sycamore Street, Newtown, PA 18940. Donations by credit card can be made by calling Rob at 215-504-1700.  Checks can be made out to Future Health.  All donations will be wired to a bank in which Muhammad has provided me with the transfer information.


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Jan Baumgartner is the author of the memoir, Moonlight in the Desert of Left Behind. She was born near San Francisco, California, and for years lived on the coast of Maine. She is a writer and creative content book editor. She's worked as a (more...)

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