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- Monday, December 16, 2013 - From Print Edition


PESHAWAR: The family of one of the 19 Frontier Corps (FC) soldiers, made hostage by the militants after a clash in Mohmand Agency in 2010, are disappointed as the captives are yet to be released after over three years of their kidnapping.


The families of the soldiers recently got a video, filmed immediately after they were taken hostage, in which all the 19 soldiers can be seen in the captivity of the Afghan militants in a small mud-house.


“It has been over three years now. The families of the missing soldiers are losing all hopes since there is no one to console them or assure safe return of their loved ones,” Ahmad Shah, relative of one of the kidnapped soldiers, Hazrat Bilal, told The News.


He provided the 12-minute and 16 seconds long video to The News, pointing towards the first and wounded soldier in the film as his cousin, Bilal. He said his missing has disturbed the entire family.


Militants armed with automatic rifles can be seen behind the soldiers, all uniformed and two of them sustaining injuries, in the video. Only two of the soldiers interviewed in the video introduced themselves as Subedar Ijaz and Sepoy Bilal.


The hostage soldiers said they were made hostage after an attack on the Shoopmrai post on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border in the mountainous Mohmand Agency.


The soldiers stated in the video that they were lost in the forest in the mountains after the first clash where they encountered militants again and were made hostage.


Ahmad Shah said the elderly parents of Bilal as well as his five sisters and two brothers went to every office to request the government for ensuring their release. However, no progress has been made even after over three years. “One of our relatives also went to Afghanistan where he got to know that they are still alive and in custody of militants,” said the relative. He said one of the soldiers had escaped from the custody while another was killed.


“All that militants want is to release two of their men against the release of the 17 remaining soldiers,” said the relative, adding that the families are no longer getting salaries of the missing soldiers for the last two years. “The parents of Bilal have fallen ill after losing hopes about the release of their son. His sisters cry all the time, asking the top bosses to help them release their brother,” said Ahmad Shah.


“The same will be the case of the families of the rest of the soldiers,” he added. He said the soldiers’ relatives held protest demonstrations in Peshawar and other places on a number of occasions but no one has helped them so far.