Dhaka: Thought to be dead for over two decades, a Bangladeshi man returned home after 23 years, most of which were spent in Pakistani jails.

"The International Red Cross (ICRC) arranged his return home under our restoring family links programme... Moslemuddin Sarkar returned home yesterday," Roksana Zahan, field tracing officer of the international humanitarian agency said.

She said the ICRS's Pakistan unit tracked down, Sarkar, now in his early 50s, in a Pakistan jail on the basis of a tip off by the Bangladesh High Commission in Islamabad.

An official had informed his family in Mymensingh through a local public representative that he was alive and awaiting repatriation.

"Pakistan police arrested him in 1997 while the Pakistani authorities freed him from the jail in Karachi on Monday night to be deported immediately as the Bangladesh High Commission officials extended their hands in preparing a travel document for him to return home and saw him off at the airport," Zahan said.

But a Bangladesh journalist working for a foreign news agency appeared to have played a major role in his return. "I know (Sarkar’s) family from my childhood. So when his younger brother informed me about the anonymous caller (of Bangladesh mission) in Pakistan, I thought the Red Cross is the appropriate authority for the task," journalist Julhas Alam said.

Sarkar arrived on Tuesday afternoon at the Hazrat Shahjalal Airport.

"The bearded man (Sarkar) appeared to be in a loss of mind, still traumatized despite his sharp eyes... he was speaking in Urdu questioning why is being photographed at the Airport," Alam said.

According to the family members, Sarkar had left home one morning in 1989 after telling his family that he was returning to his job as a dock worker at Chittagong Seaport.

His family didn't hear from him again until the International Committee of the Red Cross found him in the Karachi jail.


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