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People over there suggest migrants to try to go to Italy. Either you die or you make it, I was told.” – A male migrant from Pakistan

MY JOB WAS AGAINST THEIR RELIGION

“I was happy in my country. I used to work for a National health campaign for the promotion of the vaccines to fight polio, in Madrar, a city close to the border with Afghanistan. I lived with my mother, and my brothers, and my uncles were living next to our house. Unfortunately, in our area there are many Taliban. One evening I got back home and my mother warned me about a letter that just arrived. It was addressed to me and it was a letter from the Taliban. They ordered me to quit the health campaign. They claimed that my job was against their religion.”

I ESCAPED. . . BUT THEY KEPT LOOKING FOR ME

“I went straight to the police to report what happened. The police men reassured me that I would be safe. Soon, life proved the opposite. A few days later, I remember I was walking house to house for the vaccines campaign. My colleague was happier than usual, that morning his wife told him he would become a father soon. Suddenly, we heard some shots. They were Taliban and they killed my colleague. I managed to escape, but I recognized their faces. I knew some of them since my childhood. I reported this to the police, giving the name of the murderers. Of course, the Taliban went to look for me at home. I was not there when it happened. My brother was there and they beat him very bad. I escaped to Karachi, but they kept looking for me. Taliban went to my uncle and they kidnapped him for 5 days. He was so afraid that he confessed I was in Karachi.”

EITHER YOU DIE OR YOU MAKE IT

“This is how I flew to Misrata. It cost me 3000 USD*. Once in Libya, my passport was withdrawn by the police, I think they did it so that I could not go back. I stayed in Misrata for three months. It was a real nightmare. Libya is terrible. People over there suggest migrants to try to go to Italy. Either you die or you make it, I was told. I decided I would try it. I contacted a smuggler, he put me in a connection house where none of us could eat. After five days without eating, we finally arrived in Zawara and we went on the boat. I was below deck, no air, packed, the boat was not stable. We were on the water for 10 hours before being rescued. During those hours at sea, I remember I could not think of anything. I was just numb, without energy.”

TODAY

“Memories of what happened in Pakistan, of what my family suffered because of me, of what I passed through in Libya, of the sea journey, are so vivid to me. They overwhelm me. I am getting crazy. At the moment, I can see only my past, but I cannot see any future.”

*Includes money paid for smuggling services

January 2016 – Documented by MHub Data Focal Point in Italy – Angela Tullio Cataldo

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