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January 26, 2019

Roohi Bano’s life was full of misery and anguish


January 26, 2019

LAHORE: Late Pakistani film and television lead actress Roohi Bano, suffering from schizophrenia lately, had led a life full of sorrows, grief and misery, especially after the unnatural death of her only son Ali, whose body was found near her residence in Lahore’s posh Gulberg neighbourhood on November 7, 2005.

The killers had dumped Ali’s body alongside a fence. Some passersby had then called up the police after listening to the ring tone of the youngster’s cell phone. Roohi’s son Ali and his friends were running a real estate business in the Defence Housing Authority Lahore.

Initially, the police did not inform Roohi Bano as she was suffering from a brain disorder and was getting treatment at Lahore’s Fountain House, a mental health facility, many years after she had done her Masters in Psychology from the Government College, Lahore.

However, Roohi Bano, totally tormented and devastated, had disappeared after her son’s burial for years, locking up her 8-B Gulberg III house for years that followed, having fallen on hard times, grappling unsuccessfully with psychological problems and living in absolute solitude.

On July 25, 2013, a leading Indian media house “The Times of India” had reported how the actress was living in reclusion: “Daughter of Indian tabla maestro Allah Rakha, Roohi Bano is a well-known in the Pakistan entertainment world. She is a legendary TV / Film actor in Pakistan, but today she lives alone on Kasuri Road, in a house that is haunted. She was one of the well-known artist in 1970's and 1980 and today she is in a poor state of mental health living all alone without any support from any family members or relatives. Various artists from the Pakistan entertainment industry have come forward to help Bano.”

Earlier in May 2005, Karachi Police had recovered the dead body of Roohi’s 80-year old mother, Zeenat Begum, from a Kulsoom Court flat in Clifton. She had serious burn injuries.

Police said that Rohi Bano had gone to Lahore just days before the incident. It was in December 2012 that the Lahore police had succeeded in solving the mystery of this murder, arresting a hired assassin Joseph and another criminal Ramzan, who confessed Ali was killed in a mobile phone snatching incidentafter he had resisted. Some other accounts suggested Ali was killed over a property dispute.

The accused had confessed to 113 crimes, though only 62 were registered with the police. Stolen cell phones worth Rs 600,000, a pistol and 10 bullets were also recovered from the handcuffed culprits.

Daughter of a renowned Indian tabla maestro, Allah Rakha, and half-sister of globally-acclaimed Indian tabla player Zakir Hussain, the 67-year old presidential award-winning Roohi had later survived a life attempt in Lahore during April 2015.

The attacker was her late son’s friend. Roohi was shifted to Services Hospital for treatment and later discharged after being treated for minor injuries. Media had quoted Roohi as saying: “My son Ali’s friend Israr approached me and asked me to sell my house to him. Upon refusal, he hurled harsh words at me and threatened me of dire consequences. He later got infuriated and attacked me with a sharp edged weapon.”

She had two failed marriages and witnessed the birth and golden age of Pakistan's television industry and worked in popular serials and dramas like "Darwaza", "Kiran Kahani" and "Zard Gulab” etc.

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