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Prisoner 650 – Grey Ghost of Bagram

Guest Blog by Asim Khan

My name is Prisoner 650,
Known I am as the “Grey Ghost”
Of Bagram, my home, remember me
In years of silence, in moments
Of indifference, created by you
Familiar are those walls and rooms
Of torture, of questions and of abuse
Familiar are those old echoes,
As all ideologies fall away in shame
Of protection of rights and freedom
Familiar I am to these accusations
As I am dragged, naked and blue
As I carry your foul breath, in eternity
Familiar I am to you and your ways
In labyrinth of twisted torture and routines
As my face begins to fade, in its forms
As this life becomes the burden in its disguise

My name is Prisoner 650,
Known I am not to the land of my birth
Forgotten they have all but few of my own
As I sit here through intervals,
When sanity returns, as this mind play games
Harder to distinguish what is worse
The torture and abuse or being forgotten
By my very own country, of my very own
Through subjugation of humanity
Familiar I am now, to these routines
As I see myself break in pieces,
As I see you, break in your emptiness
Remember me, as I walked with you
Tied down to my knees, in chains
To these graves, in your quest for gold

My name is prisoner 650
Known I am to them as Grey Ghost
Inside me the Bagram and its crimes
Outside this world, you and absent me
All available to you, all known to you
The ambiguity you created, in those cells
As I bath in that abuse in my dreams
The voices, eyes, and rotten crimes
As this civilization eats me slowly
Through hands foreign, through hands
Of my own, my own, my own
Know I of my worth, know I of my place
In these pedestals of humanity,
All gone, inside me, the absent light
As I search for the light, and cold showers
In the old walls of Bagram, familiar I am
To these mountains, my witnesses
Heard me, they have, like those graves
Unmarked, walk with me, sometimes
Feel you will all, what was it like?
Betrayal of my own, betrayal of my own

I am the prisoner 650, cold and silent
Charge me, it cannot be worse,
I have seen it all, I have lived it away
In your presence, the grey ghost
In there, lies me, the old self,
In unmarked graves, finally the freedom
My name is Prisoner 650
Stands here, in front of you
In its demise, in what you created
Against accusation, hollow and false
Pay you will, in this life or next
Familiar not to you, the old justice

My name is Prisoner 650
The grey ghost of Bagram
In my weakened body and soul,
As I carry these imprints
Of your investigations and abuse
Familiar I am to your ways and techniques
As you pronounce in comfort, the justice
Not much left in me, not much to say
Remember the first sentence,
The first utterance, long time ago
Of my innocence, as I screamed
As my skin pierced, as my soul raped
Now what justice will you serve me?
Not there may be, but still inside me
Bagram, and its grey ghost, and you.

I am the prisoner 650
Remember me, unfamiliar I am to you
To my own, in betrayal of my very own
I have no more questions, to ask
I am the Prisoner 650
Never will I be freed, inside me remains
The old landmarks of what I was once,
You have done your work well,
Declare me insane, as insane I am now
They call me the prisoner 650,
The Grey Ghost of Bagram, in your presence
My beauty carved out of torture and betrayal
These beautiful principles of protection
Remember me, how can you forget
In an unmarked grave, finally the freedom
I am the Prisoner 650, Grey Ghost of Bagram!

Asim Khan


  • Silence |

    This poem was written by Ahmad Faraz in 1970’s, the BBC urdu published it recently as the role of Pakistan army and the “hired killers” remains same.

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  • Raheel |

    I have no words to express what her pain could be like….

  • Nayyar Hashmey |

    Thanks Asim Khan,

    You have expressed the feelings, the agony and the torture meted out to this innocent daughter of Pakistan. The words are so moving that I felt the same agony, the torture and the same feeklings of anger in my soul but alas, these feelings are just nothing for those people responsible for this heinous act of brutality, injustice and shameless attitude towards this daughter of ours who has been forced to see these years on the hands of some people here in Pakistan as well as in the United States of America.

    Till now its not very clear how was she lifted in 2003, taken to Bagram, by whom and for what reasons. All seems to be a farce, a matter of trumped up charges because; no sensible person could agree wth what they are saying in the media and to the attorney of Dr. Afia.

    I pray to Almight Allah that she now gets justice and is released immeditaely. Even her release at this juncture can never bring her life to what she could have without these years of agony, torture and so many other acts, a mere mention of which is a shame for humanity.

  • hassan Abbas |

    Asim you have truly expressed the anguish of a self respecting sister – let us now await the rage of a nation of a self respecting nation.