The voice of understanding

25 March 2022

My name is Muzaffar Khan, and I am from Pakistan. I have been in BiH for five months. In total, it has been almost four and a half years since I left my country.

When I left Pakistan, I went to Iran and then to Turkey, where I stayed for a while, and then I went to Greece, then to North Macedonia, Serbia, and then I arrived in BiH. That was our route to BiH. We encountered a lot of difficulties along the way because we travelled illegally across the mountains.

When we crossed the border from Iran to Turkey, I faced many things there, but one of those I would like to share with you.

On the way, I saw a blanket, which was spread on the mountain. We were passing by, and I thought it would be a good idea to take that blanket, maybe I will need it at night. When I went to take it and pulled it, I saw a dead body covered with that blanket, seemingly fresh. The body was dead maybe for two days. I got frightened and continued on my way with that shocking picture in my mind.

I was thinking how is it possible that people have been left here to die. When I went through those mountains, I realized that there is no water, no food, even no animals around. Then I easily understood why others would leave someone to die. Because trying to save someone, others could die too. No one is going there to help, not even the local population or the government.

So, I crossed the border and entered Turkey, and then I stayed in Turkey for a while. When we tried to cross from Turkey to Greece, the police in Greece treated us too rigorously, they have beaten us, they had dogs with them when they pushed us back.

We always collected things to cross the river over and over again, facing many difficulties. One of the difficulties was the police there, but other than that there were robbers in groups of eight to twelve people in those forests, armed with knives and guns. They often lined us up and took away our money, mobile phones, and luggage. They literally robbed us and took all of the things we needed for traveling. So, we faced such difficulties.

I spent almost four and a half years on this journey and faced many troubles from the moment I left my country until I came to BiH, all in search of a happy and prosperous life, a better future. I have been in BiH for almost five months.

For me, it will be very easy to convey a message and advise others because I have gone through all those difficulties during my journey and what I have encountered in my life. It will be very easy for me to advise others not to come this way or that way, but those people will have a question on their minds – Then why did you go this way?

I just want to convey a message to humanity: Do you understand that when a person leaves their home, their country, their people, their language and moves to another country, they are not doing it for fun or entertainment. They might have a problem.

So, I want to convey a message to the world: Please understand us! None of us left our homes, our families, and came here for fun. I am almost four and a half years away from my family. I can’t meet my mother, my sister, my brothers, or my friends, I am just continuing my journey and facing a lot of physical and psychological pain.

My message is here for the world, in the name of humanity. Please understand us! We know that we are crossing the borders illegally, and you have to do your job to protect your borders. But you should understand that there might be some issues that compel us to make illegal border crossings. You should understand us and cooperate with us because we don’t want any clash with you.

We have nothing else but food in our bags. When the Croatian police check us, we have nothing with us such as drugs, knives, or weapons, absolutely nothing! Only food and water! So I want to convey to all of them a message to understand us!