Viral interview on Facebook leads to family being reunited with daughter after 2 decades
When Shahnaz was just two-year-old, her parents got divorced. Her uncles decided to marry her mother off and sent Shahnaz to one of her uncles' house in Bhuapur upazila of Tangail.
Shahnaz was growing up with her cousins there but she when was five, her father Abu Saeed took her back with him. However, Shahnaz ran into problems with her stepmother there.
Her father ended up handing her over to a family in Tangail, on the condition that they would let her study. The family later moved to Dhaka with Shahnaz.
After two years in Dhaka, one day, the family's eldest daughter sent Shahnaz to buy noodles. On the way back home, then seven-year-old Shahnaz saw some children playing. She forgot about her work and started playing with the children there.
By the time she remembered about getting home it was late afternoon. Realising that she was late she started to fear that she might get beaten up and she never returned there.
After searching her everywhere, her father filed a GD at the Tejgaon Police Station in Dhaka.
In the meantime, Mashuk Ahmed, a contractor from Kadamtala area found Shahnaz and took her with him to his house in Dhaka's Basabo. He raised her with much care and affection. Before leaving for America with his family, he married off Shahnaz with one Abdul Quader from Naogaon.
"My mother used to cry looking at Shahnaz's old clothes. So, a few days ago, I put up a status on Facebook to try and learn about Shahnaz's whereabouts. Seeing the post, Jewel, from our village, who is currently serving in the United Nations peacekeeping mission, commented," Shahnaz's cousin Mohammad Raihan, a primary school teacher from Jigatla village in Bhuapur upazila told The Daily Star.
"Shahnaz's interview at RJ Kibria's "Apon Thikana" show went viral recently and it caught Jewel's attention and he informed us about it. After watching the video interview, we were sure that it was our Shahnaz that we lost 18 years ago," said Raihan.
"On June 19, in Mohakhali, Dhaka, 'Apon Thikana' authorities after verifying the evidence and confirming the identity took us to Shahnaz. Later along with her husband and their two-year-old child we brought them to our home the same day," Raihan added.
Although it was her uncle's house, Shahnaz's cherished childhood was spent there. She was happy to visit. She is now 25.
Shahnaz's father Saeed lives with his second wife and their two children in Nalshodha village of Delduar upazila and works in a biscuit factory in Kagmara area of Tangail city. She went to visit him with her husband on Tuesday. Her father was overcome with emotion after seeing all of them.
"After all this time, I go my lost daughter back. There is no limit to my happiness. In fact, for many years, I had no moment of peace," Saeed told this newspaper.
"After all these years, I am lucky to get my family back. I am very happy. I'm not angry with anyone in the family," Shahnaz told The Daily Star.
She expressed gratitude towards US expat Mashuk and his family for taking her in and to RJ Kibria for the platform.
"But I am most grateful to my husband. He knows everything about me. Not only that, he has sincerely assisted me in finding my family members," she said.
Shahnaz lives with her husband Engineer Adbdur Kader and two children at the Mirzapur Cadet College area in Tangail, where her husband works in a textile mill.
"My wife Shahnaz is very good. We are very happy in our married life," Abdul Kader said.