I think it was in 1982/83 that we started planning on how to get my father-in-law out of Iran to Germany and then on to the US. My husband and in-laws are members of a religious minority that was (and still is) persecuted in that country. He needed to leave, as his life was in danger.
Of course he was not able to exit the country like any other traveler as his passport would have been confiscated. So he had to find the best possible and safest illegal way out.
There were plenty of connections to get smuggled over different borders, of course at a price. My father-in-law took advantage of one referred organization and after selling the home and shipping some of their personal belongings to California (where my mother-in-law had settled in) he went on his adventure.
He met up with some guys and was transported overnight lying hidden on the flatbed of a truck over the Afghan border. He paid the driver the arranged amount in cash and was told to wait until the driver returns with his passport. I think this took 2 days and my father-in-law did not know if he had been betrayed or not. He waited in a small shack in the middle of nowhere. But the driver returned and he was holding a passport in his hands. Now he was able to cross over the Afghan border into Pakistan.
In Pakistan he made it to Karachi where he waited to hear from us. My husband had found a connection in Berlin who would transfer funds to Pakistan, so my father-in-law could buy a plane ticket. The deal was to go this way: we pay the guy in Berlin and he would let us know when and where to contact his liaison in Karachi.
My husband contacted his father by phone to give him further instructions - I do not remember where he got the number, but his father was staying at a small hotel and I am sure that he had called us first after he had arrived safely.
Now here is the interesting part. The instructions were as follows: My father-in-law was to go to a specific restaurant at a specific time of day and find a single man sitting at a table in the back, reading the newspaper. This man would be his contact and he would let him know how to get the money.
The phone call was stressful, as first of all, the connection to that line was awful and my husband had to repeat the instructions several times. And secondly, my father-in-law on the other side was doubting that this would work. - Just walk into the restaurant and talk to a man with a newspaper and say what? We were doing something illegal, what if he was approaching the wrong person? - I really understand his hesitation at that time. But it worked. He went ahead and everything was just as he was told it would be and he got his funds to finally buy his airfare.
Stay tuned for part two of his adventure..... Kind of reminds me of the movie "Not without my daughter" with Sally Fields.