The true story of a Pakistani man’s five years in terrorist captivity and astonishing escape
The first thing that struck me was the smell.
I found myself alone in a mud-walled room with straw and animal faeces scattered across the dirt floor. My hands and feet were bound with metal cuffs. It was dark; what little light there was slipped in through a small hole in the ceiling where a pipe passed. The stifling heat left me feeling faint. Randomly placed in the corner was a red bucket, which was to serve as my toilet. There was no mattress. The floor would be my bed. The pungent odour was the first thing that hit me as I regained consciousness. It was unbearable and turned my stomach. It wasn’t just the room that smelled; I did too.
My immediate thoughts: Where am I? Will I ever see my family again?
Just a few days earlier, I had been at home, in Lahore, Pakistan. It was a normal day like any other. My routine was to wake up, get dressed, and take a ten- minute drive to my workplace. To my complete shock and horror, I was ambushed on my way to work, beaten, and drugged. Waking up to unfamiliar surroundings. Shackled.
This was now my world.
How can your whole life change in an instant? How…