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With hardship comes ease

With hardship comes ease

Issue 99 December 2012

When Shabbir Zaib went to Pakistan for a holiday four years ago, he didn’t anticipate having to spend 17 agonising months behind bars.


Despite it happening over four years ago, I still have nightmares about that night when life permanently changed for my family. I went to Pakistan in June 2008 for a holiday with my wife and three sons. My wife and I were returning to Punjab, where we had met, fallen in love and married in 1987. We had faced some difficulty from my wife’s family, as I was a Shia and she was a Sunni, but eventually her father agreed to our union. After the wedding, we moved to Glasgow where we raised our three sons together.

On the 29th of June 2008, our children had gone to Lahore and were staying the night there, so my mother-in-law came round to have dinner with my wife and me. We had gone for a walk after dinner and were just walking back into the house when a few men came after us. They had covered their faces, and tied us all up and sat us down in the living room. 

They started asking questions about the money, as they had been told that half a million of local currency was in the house. I told them that we didn’t have that much, and even if someone had that amount of money, they would keep it in the bank. But they didn’t listen and just kept asking. They took it upon themselves to search the house, and started throwing things around and opening cupboards. One of the robbers turned to my wife and said that they knew she was in charge and that she knew where the money was. If she didn’t tell them, they were going to shoot me in front of her.

She kept telling them that we didn’t have any money in the house, so they shot me in my right leg. I screamed at the sudden shock and pain, and when my wife heard me, she started crying and became hysterical. They were trying to stop her and another shot was fired. They had shot her in the temple. Her blood was everywhere, and my poor wife was dead. The robbers left right away, but as they were leaving, a few of the neighbours saw them because they had been drawn to the house by the sound of gunshots. Once the neighbours saw I had been shot, they rushed me to hospital. 

The police came to the hospital and I told them everything that had happened to us. I was still in a lot of pain, so I wasn’t able to go over my statement with the police a second time to ensure all the information I had given was correct. I later found out that the police had altered some of the things that I had said.

Eleven days later, my mother-in-law gave a statement to the police saying that I had killed my wife and then shot myself to cover my actions. She said that she was too traumatised by what had happened to tell the police any earlier. As a result, I was arrested and taken into custody. They made me stand up all night in the police station, without telling me what they wanted from me.




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