Unforgettable Nepalis

How some Nepalis saved my life in Kathmandu? 

Apart from attempting slow poison in Pakistan since October 2011, I, along with myself, was given poison in Kathmandu earlier slowly, and later on in single- dose during December 2014. No doubt I was also tried to be locked in the house in Satobadu, from where we fled for Thamel and later on shifted to another house. I haven’t mentioned as yet that how I was helped and saved by the Kathmandu people. 

The support that tendered to me by Kanak Mani Dixit at various times, especially on December 18, 2012 is unforgettable. I received a call from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for a meeting. When I left for UNHCR – Kathmandu from Satobadu in Jawlakhel town, no taxi was ready to pick me up for the UNHCR office. I was already administered poison through the water-tank in the house; therefore my lower part of body was becoming senseless. Some people were chasing me; therefore I mixed up with the teachers’ row of a Christmas procession probably organized by St. Zaveir School. And, at the point where traffic got blocked, I took a thin curvy street that finally led me to the office of Himal Southasian. After reaching there, I requested Kanak ji for vehicle to drop me down at UNHCR. He thankfully facilitated. 

A crew of intelligence agencies’ men was already waiting for me at the gate of residence of Head of the Mission, UNHCR. The crew was also included some Pakistanis as well. During the meeting with a UNHCR official, a woman in her late fifties came in suddenly and said, “We cannot do anything to Pakistan authorities. You have either to go back to Pakistan or leave Nepal.” And when she left, the UNHCR official said, “we are worried that why they are doing this with you.” Her eyes were wet. Earlier I told her about the trail of the persecution in the Nepal and how I was been kept on the slow poisoning, which she listened in a manner as if she already had some clues. Since UNHCR already had decided on my case, I was issued the refugee recognition certificate. 

Earlier by the end of November, I visited UNHCR. When I reached their, a senior Pakistani Embassy official was present at the reception of gate. He said nothing but was just starring at us. 

At least two persons played a role of Angels while I was about to die due to poisoning. It was kindness of a senior doctor at the Bir Hospital in Kathmandu, who identified that I was poisoned and was to start medication. All of sudden a fleet of ‘unknown persons’ emerged from outside, took the doctor aside and started talking with him. Once they went, the doctor wrote a prescription, and pointed silently to one prescribed drug to take immediately and leave the hospital. I did so and returned back home. 

After a while, I asked Fatima that I just wanted to visit a hospital. We went from one hospital to another but none was ready to undertake detoxification. While on the road in search of appropriate hospital, I did call to Kanak Mani Dixit and told him that I was poisoned. He suggested me a hospital. It was for the first time when Fatima heard that I was poisoned. Taxi driver suddenly pressed the breaks after hearing that I have told someone about the poisoning. He left the car apparently for the urinating. Another 4x4 white colored jeep that was chasing us suddenly stopped. Two persons stepped down, went to taxi driver, and started talking with him. He told them something and the persons hurriedly got seated in the jeep and took a speedy U-turn. 

The hospital that was advised by Dixit ji refused to undertake the tests for poisoning. Another hospital, the Himal Hospital, was nearby. As we moved ahead, the taxi driver stopped car, and said in a typical Urdu, ‘Ab ja ke mar’ (go and die). 

We tried over there but a couple dozen persons that were chasing us entered in the Himal Hospital and rushed there. We again left for another hospital – Patan Hospital near Jawlakhel. When I shared with the doctor of the Emergency Ward, he said that he would not be able to do anything but would just wait and see what is happening with me, because he said that it seems around more than 12 hours have passed by to the poisoning. We finally moved back to the Himal hospital, where I shared the details with a doctor. Fortunately doctor himself was an activist and was probably a Tibetan. After carrying check-up, he hurriedly put a tablet bellow my tongue because my heart was about to stop working. Then, he got samples for some tests. We already had managed some primary tests, which were carrying enough indicators to be reached at the conclusion that I was given metal poison. He just guessed that it was arsenic. 

Finally, we got admitted in the private room. Thanks to the Nepali authorities that they deputed a lady police official outside the door of my room. I was continuously been given drugs in the vein and through the drip. Early morning a person apparently doctor visited and asked me about the details. In the meantime, my persecutors became successful to hold control of the hospital and thus I decided to leave the hospital immediately. 

We went back to our rented house. I owe a lot to the shopkeepers of the Jawalkhel that they kept on me indicating if and when particular toxic water-cane, fruit or bread was given them for me. I also cannot forget the Nepali couple who once silently wept when my stomach and liver were damaged through a pill.  

I also cannot forget the kindness of the Opinion Pages team of the daily The Kathmandu Post that when they were misguided that I was fake Zulfiqar Shah, the actual one was living in Pakistan, they invited me in the last week of November 2012 to the office and discussed with me, and finally reached the conclusion that I am the real person. Finally, they published my article ‘Ethnicity and Urbanization’ that was on hold due to my identity issue.

I am also thankful to the management of Tribhuvan University that it waved-off the required NoC from Pakistan High Commission on my request. It was a great kindness of at least three professors of the Asian Studies Centre, International Studies Centre and Department of Political Science that they encouraged me. It was really an honor for me that by the mid November I was asked by the Central Department of Political Science at the Tribhuvan University to deliver honorary talk weekly to the students on the politics, especially Southasian politics. 

A fellow that cannot be forgotten is the Purna B. Nepali who became my Nepalese referee for my PG Diploma / Advanced Research Studies in Political Science. Simultaneously, I am thankful to the Kanak Ji who arranged my talk with Himal team as well as some activists and journalists on the human rights as well as civil and political rights affairs in Sindh and rest of the Pakistan. 

I can never forget that kindness of Nepali doctors who saved my life. I am also thankful to those Nepali commoners, activists and journalists who tried their best for our issue. They will live in my heart forever.

Zulfiqar Shah, December 4, 2014. New Delhi