A SEVEN-YEAR-OLD boy whose parents and sisters were killed in a horrific car crash in Pakistan has returned home safe and well.
Qasim Mohammed Akbar was the only survivor of a horror smash which killed his dad Ali Akbar Khan (59), mum Riffit Rukhsana and sisters Hajira (two) and Aisha (eight).
The accident happened on New Year’s Day near Faisalabad while the family was on an extended holiday, and since then Qasim’s half-brother and former Clitheroe chef Abid Ali has been fighting a custody battle to bring his brother home.
Abid, who used to work at Romero, Clitheroe, flew to Pakistan on hearing news of the accident. He said he was pleased to be home after months of court cases and legal wrangling.
He explained: “It has been a very difficult time. Qasim mum’s family were determined to keep him in Pakistan.
“For the past eight months I have appeared in one court after another in Pakistan to be granted custody. I would see Qasim in court every day and it would break my heart as I felt so helpless. He was very weak, confused and still grieving from the death of his parents and sisters.”
Abid was allowed access after four months, but explained how they had to hide in a safehouse until they could be flown to England, as they feared Qasim, a former pupil of Brookside Primary School, Clitheroe, would be snatched off the street.
“It was very difficult and we were living like prisoners. I had received so many death threats. It’s so easy to buy a gun in Pakistan. People in villages are commonly walking around with guns.
“As our plane landed in Manchester we were over the moon and didn’t believe this day would ever come.
“Qasim never wants to go back to Pakistan.”
There’s more on this story in this week’s Leader-Times newspapers