New Delhi, May 25, 2017: “Pakistan is like a well of death”, said Uzma Ahmed, the Indian woman repatriated to the country from Pakistan where she was allegedly forced and duped into marrying against her choice.
“I am an orphan. I am an adopted child and have nobody,” Uzma told reporters in New Delhi, hours after she crossed into India through the Wagah border, a day after the Islamabad High Court permitted her to travel home.
The woman broke down several times and said “it is easy to go, but tough to return”, sharing her ordeal of living in Pakistan with media.
“They could have sold me or used me in a risky operation,” she said about a family in Buner, Pakistan.
Uzma said she was not the only woman duped into marrying a man from Buner.
“There may be lots of girls in Buner. Buner people are mostly in Malaysia and they get girls from Malaysia. It is a dangerous area. You hear gunshots everyday. Every (man) has two wives there. I don’t want this to happen with everyone,” she claimed.
The woman said she saw women who went to Pakistan after their arranged marriages also crying.
She thanked the Government of India, particularly External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for making her return possible and making her realise “the value of my life as an Indian citizen”.
“I am proud to be an Indian citizen. Sushma madam would call me every day to say we are fighting for you, you are our daughter, you are India’s daughter,” she said, recounting the days she spent at the Indian High Commission in Islamabad.
Uzma travelled to Lahore from Islamabad and was accompanied by Indian Deputy High Commissioner J P Singh. She stayed in Pakistan for 25 days. Near the Wagah border she was escorted by Pakistani security personnel. She prostrated and kissed the ground as soon as she entered Indian territory.
The woman claimed she was forced at gunpoint to marry Buner resident Tahir Ali. During the court hearing, Pakistani judge Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani asked Uzma if she wanted to meet her husband in the chamber but she refused the offer, saying she did not want to talk to him.
The high court ordered that Uzma can go back to her country and the case will be processed in her absence.
Uzma had taken refuge at the Indian High Commission in Islamabad because she felt threatened, and wanted to return to her country of birth.
Ali had filed a petition claiming that she was being forcibly kept at the Indian High Commission and that the marriage was not under coercion.
Uzma, who belongs to New Delhi, and Ali “fell in love” in Malaysia, after which she travelled to Pakistan on May 1, via the Wagah border.