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Emotional reunion

THE brother of a man who suffered serious brain injuries after allegedly being attacked by anti-government protesters two months ago burst into tears as he saw him for the first time in a year yesterday. Ghulam Nabi Bakhsh Muhammad flew into Bahrain from Gujrat, Pakistan, to visit his younger brother Irfan, whose tongue was cut out in a brutal assault.

He revealed Irfan had been planning to fly home to marry his childhood sweetheart Nazia Parveen any time now.

Friends had withheld details of the 23-year-old's condition from his family because they couldn't bring themselves to break the news to his relatives back home.

"When I reached Bahrain International Airport, my heart started beating faster - I couldn't believe that I was in Bahrain," Mr Muhammad told the GDN.

"On one hand, I was happy that I was going to meet my brother but, on the other hand, I was worried.

"I was anxious to reach the hospital and when I saw him, I couldn't control my tears on seeing his condition.

"I called his name and held his hands and I felt the warmth of his blood that reminded me of our childhood times.

"I wanted to hug him, but I couldn't as he is on life support machine.

"I told him I came to Bahrain especially to take him home with me, to be with the family."

He said he held the phone to Irfan's ear as his mother spoke to him from Pakistan.

"I called my mother in Pakistan and kept the phone near his ear," he said.

"I didn't tell my mother about his condition, but said he can't talk because he is on life support."

Irfan was attacked on March 13, the same day that police attempted to clear protesters who blocked a major Manama highway outside the Bahrain Financial Harbour.

He was among hundreds injured in a spate of attacks on Asian civilians, which left three Bangladeshis and a Pakistani dead.

He came to Bahrain to work as a construction worker for a contracting company, but is now receiving treatment at the BDF Hospital and doctors previously admitted they didn't know if he would fully recover.

He appeared unaware of his surroundings yesterday.

His brother said Irfan's 20-year-old fiancŽ had been desperate to hear from him and was actually against his decision to travel to Bahrain for work.

"She is always crying and waiting to hear from him," said Mr Muhammad.

"She always asked him not to go to Bahrain, although he insisted as he wanted to earn money to support us.

"And as some of his friends were here already, he said he would settle like them."

He also revealed the family had taken out a bank loan to pay for the visa Irfan used to get here.

"It's not easy for me to repay the instalments as I have more responsibility now," he added.

"My mother is sick and my brother is still in a critical condition.

"I have two unmarried sisters and no support at all."

When asked what he thought about comments by activist Maryam Al Khawaja, who claimed Asians were only targeted because they had been hired to attack Bahraini demonstrators, he said his brother came to Bahrain to work, not fight.

"My brother is here to earn and descent living and not to fight," he said.

"How could she think Asians would dare to attack Bahraini demonstrators - they were too afraid due to the situation.

"Many were worried about their lives."

aneeqa@gdn.com.bh



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