My husband was posted in the volatile Frontier Province of Pakistan. At that time I was working so we decided that I would stay in Islamabad and he would commute over the weekends.
Just a few weeks before, my husband’s colleague had been kidnapped as he returned to the factory with his wife. The kidnappers wore policemen’s uniforms and pretended they were taking him away for questioning. They left his wife and the car. When the family discovered he had been kidnapped they arranged for the ransom. He was released after a week, alive but terribly shaken.
One evening as we talked on the phone my husband told me that he was going on a field visit the next morning. I was a bit concerned but I didn’t say anything as, after all he had to do his job.
The next morning even before I had woken up I received a call asking for my husband. “But this is not his number”, I answered “Who’s calling?”
“I am calling from the security company and we are trying to call him but we can’t get through.”
“Is everything all right?” I panicked.
“Actually, the panic button in his car was triggered and we are trying to contact him now.”
The panic button had been installed in all the company cars since the kidnapping to alert the security company if a possible kidnapping was taking place.
“This is it.” I thought, “My husband has been kidnapped.” I told the man about his field visit and that there would be others with him so he should try to contact the others as well.
I spent the next few minutes trying to call my husband and agonizing over how I would arrange the ransom money and whether I would ever see him ever again.
My phone rang. It was my husband. “Don’t worry. It was a false alarm. I just cleared it with the security company.”
Relief enveloped me. That lump in my throat cleared.
“Why was your phone off?”
“We were passing through an area where the reception was bad.”
“Ok. Call me when you reach the factory safely.”
My husband worked in that area for two years. Whenever he would travel he would be armed and with a bodyguard. I could not relax until he would message me that he had arrived at his destination. Finally when my son was born, he decided he had had enough and started to look for other jobs.
We have been living in Dubai since then for the last three years and we have never felt unsafe again.
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