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Woman missing from Mumbai, found in Pakistan; Social media helps trace Hamida Bano


A woman from Mumbai who went missing 20 years ago after travelling abroad for work has been traced to Pakistan with the help of social media.

Hamida Bano (70), who lives in Hyderabad city of Pakistan, managed to get in touch with her family in suburban Kurla recently after having left the city in 2002 to work as a house help in Dubai.

According to the woman’s family, Waliullah Maroof, an activist in Pakistan, met Bano who told him how an agent in Mumbai cheated her with a promise of work in Dubai 20 years ago and she had landed in the neighbouring country instead.

Bano started living in Hyderabad, a major city in Sindh province of Pakistan, and subsequently got married to a local man, with whom she had a child. But her husband later died, they said.

On hearing her story and yearning to go back home, Maroof uploaded Bano’s video on his YouTube channel and looked for a social activist in Mumbai who could help him, and eventually found one Khaflan Shaikh.

Shaikh then circulated the video in his local group and tracked down Bano’s daughter Yasmeen Bashir Shaikh, who lives in Kasaiwada area of Kurla.

“My mother left India in 2002 for Dubai for work through an agent. However, because of the agent’s negligence, she landed in Pakistan. We were unaware of her whereabouts and could get in touch with her only once through the same agent,” Yasmeen said.

In the past, Bano had travelled to Qatar, too, to work as a house help, she said. “We are happy that our mother is alive and safe. We now want the Indian government to help us bring her back,” Yasmeen said.

The family plans to approach the Pakistan High Commission to bring the septuagenarian back home safely.


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