Dubai: Runaway Indian boy Perwez spent two weeks in hiding at an Ajman villa shared by bachelors before being dramatically found on Thursday night and reunited with his family around 2.30am the following day.
“I am happy to be home and will never do anything to hurt my family,” said the repentant teenager who had been missing from his house in Sharjah’s Muweilah area since July 4.
Perwez’s father Mohammed Aftab Alam found himself struggling to contain his joy.
“All praise to Almighty Allah for safely returning our son. This is the happiest day of my life,” he said, kissing the 15-year-old profusely, much to the amusement of his daughters aged 13, seven and five years.
Perwez said he had been living with a group of Pakistani masons in a shared villa in Ajman’s Al Hamidya suburbs.
“I made a mistake and I am sorry for putting my family though this,” he said.
“Perwez told them (masons) that (his) parents had to fly to India on an emergency and he has nowhere to go. Oddly enough, they believed him and gave him food and shelter. They should have informed the police, but they were not aware that Perwez was a runaway child so I hold no grudge against them. In fact, I am grateful to the men for looking after my son all these days,” said Alam.
Details of how exactly Perwez ended up in Ajman are sketchy.
His father said, after sneaking out of their house in the wee hours of July 4, Perwez picked up a neighour’s bicycle and pedaled away.
“Somewhere on the way, he abandoned the bicycle at a fuel station and then walked towards the direction of Ajman where he met Pakistani marble fitters who helped him. The Child Protection Department has advised us not to confront Perwez or ask him about the sequence of events as he’s under tremendous stress so we are taking one thing at a time. The last few days have been hell for us. We have barely slept or eaten, but today we are planning to celebrate with chicken biryani. It’s Perwez’s favourite dish,” said Alam.
The child’s mother Tusi Parveen said she had a premonition that her son would return. “I had not cooked anything since the day he disappeared. But late on Thursday, I stepped into the kitchen for the first time in many days as I had a feeling he’d be coming home,” she said.
According to reports, Perwez had gone to offer prayers at a mosque on Thursday evening when a group of worshippers recognized him from a missing poster and alerted the authorities. By a quirk of fate, he was wearing the same T-shirt that he was shown wearing in the missing poster.
However, the family remained in disbelief when they got a call informing them that the child had been found. “On Thursday alone we have had four false alarms that sent us scampering to Al Rafa, Ibn Batuta Mall, Marina Mall and the area behind Sharjah Municipality head office. We thought this was the fifth false alarm,” recalled Pervez’s uncle Mohammad Firoze.
“As it turned out, this was the call we had been waiting for anxiously,” he said.
Alam said he will give a reward of Dh5,000 to the men who spotted his child.
Sharjah Police comment
Sharjah Police confirmed to Gulf News on Friday that the boy was handed over to his family and his case will be followed by up social support centre and Child Protection Right Department.
An Official said: “What showed us that the case involved family violence and mistreatment of their son. So, the case will be treated as a humanitarian case with the concerned authorities which deal with child protection.
The police said action will be taken against the persons with whom the boy stayed if it is proven that they intentionally hid and conceal the boy.
Major-General Saif Al Ziri Al Shamsi, Commander-in-Chief of Sharjah Police, told Gulf News that the police’s priority was to ensure safety of the boy and to find out the reasons why he left the house. The police will investigate if there is any negligence on part of the family and authorities will closely follow the teen.