• Sunday, February 05, 2023

Africa

Former media executive from India goes missing in Kenya; family seeks governments’ help

Zulfiqar Ahmad Khan, one of the two Indians who went missing in Kenya in July. (Picture: Twitter/@maliksaif_sm)

By: Shubham Ghosh

Months after Zulfiqar Ahmad Khan, a former chief operating officer of Mumbai-based Balaji Telefilms, went missing in Kenya, his family has urged the Indian government to intervene and ensure the 48-year-old man’s safe return.

Khan’s family and friends came up with a press release that said, “It’s been almost 80 days now and yet no one has any idea about his whereabouts. Local police in Kenya are clueless. They have been asked by the High Court of the land to produce Zulfi but they have no idea where he is.”

“We don’t know if there is a serious search operation on to find him. We don’t know if the Indian government has demanded an explanation from the Kenyan government about their missing citizen. We don’t know if our own High Commission in Kenya is helping in any way,” the release said, urging the governments of both Kenya and India to launch a search operation to find Khan.

They have lost contact with Khan since the third week of July when he visited the east African country.

Khan started his career with Star India where he went on to become the senior vice president of advertising sales. He has also worked for other platforms. The Hindu quoted one of his friends saying on the condition of anonymity that Khan left Balaji Telefilms earlier this year and was “in between jobs”. He also said that the family was particularly worried since there has been “no proof of life so far”, the Indian daily reported.

His friends said that Khan loved to visit different places and posted pictures. He also published social media posts of Masai Mara and the food he was experimenting with. He even told his friends that he was returning home on July 24 but planned to visit Kenya again towards the end of the year to witness the Great Migration across the Mara River, India Today reported citing his friends who also have started a petition requesting the Indian government to begin a search operation.

“No Facebook or Instagram updates, no phone calls. He had spoken to some of his friends just days earlier and talked about wildlife at length and advised them to visit this ‘lovely’ place. And then Zulfi just disappeared. Without a trace. No contact with family or friends,” said his friends in a statement, the report added.

Reports over Khan’s disappearance have also come out in the Kenyan media and they have hinted that he was a “cyber security expert”. However, his friend, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, denied that while speaking to The Hindu.

He said Khan also went to Kenya last year when it was witnessing a heated election campaign.

While Khan’s friend could not explain whether the latter got involved in Kenya’s politics in some way, he told the daily that the local police had found the engine of the vehicle on and its passengers had vanished.

Along with Khan, another Indian named Mohammad Zaid Sami Kidwai, and a local taxi driver, Nicodemus Mwania, also went missing. According to local reports in Kenya, the trio reportedly went missing a few hours after leaving a popular club in Westlands in Nairobi.

That the political angle to the story was not entire without a base was evident when reports in the Kenyan media said that the disappearance of the two Indians might be a case of kidnapping for they supported William Ruto, the country’s re-elected president. He was in the opposition when the Indians went missing.

Reports said the two Indians were in Kenya to join Ruto’s election campaign’s information and communications technology team.

According to Kenyans.co.ke, “Police officers privy to the matter intimated to the press that the CCTV footage had been retrieved from the scene of abduction in a bid to retrace the steps of the missing foreigners. In addition, a section of detectives based in Lang’ata was also detained to aid in investigations. The detained officers were ordered to hand over a file with their findings to a new team of sleuths.”

Related Stories