ISLAMABAD: The man who alleged that his daughter is being held in Jamia Hafsa, the women’s seminary in Lal Masjid, filed an appeal with the Human Rights Cell of the Supreme Court on Monday in hopes of having his daughter recovered.
Abdul Qayyum’s lawyer Muhammad Haider Imtiaz told Dawn that Mr Qayyum has requested the Supreme Court to take suo motu notice of his plight and ensure the recovery of his daughter. Court officials have accepted his request and promised to respond to the request in a few days.
He said Lal Masjid cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz has been using his influence to prevent him from getting his daughter out of the seminary. He expressed his faith in the Supreme Court and said he hoped that his daughter will soon be recovered.
In his application to the court, Mr Qayyum stated that his 26-year-old daughter Uzma was a final year student of a religious course in Jamia Binaat-i-Ayesha madressah in Muslim Town, Rawalpindi, when on June 16, 2014 she did not return home from the seminary in the evening.
Supreme Court has promised to respond in the coming days
Mr Qayyum said he approached the administration of Jamia Binaat-i-Ayesha and they informed him that she had left for home after class and they were unaware of her whereabouts. The girl’s friends told him that she had left for Jamia Hafsa in Islamabad.
“I was further informed that she was accompanied by a woman named Umme Hassan, wife of Maulana Abdul Aziz. Umme Hassan had been visiting Jamia Binaat-i-Ayesha regularly and been in touch with my daughter since 2013. She had been patronising her and urging her to enroll at Jamia Hafsa,” he said.
Mr Qayyum said that the next morning i.e June 17, 2014 he along with his wife and son, visited Jamia Hafsa where they met Uzma in the presence of Umme Hassan and two other women staff members of the seminary. Upon seeing her family, Uzma started crying but did not say anything.
Mr Qayyum said he told Umme Hassan that they wanted to take their daughter home but she refused and said she had dedicated her life to the ‘cause of Islam’.
“We were surprised to hear this as Uzma had never disclosed any such intentions to us before,” he said.
“We insisted that she be allowed to return home, but Umme Hassan refused and told us to come again the next day and meet her husband, Maulana Abdul Aziz,” Mr Qayyum said in the application.
When he, along with his wife and son, again visited Jamia Hafsa and met Maulana Abdul Aziz, he said: “The Maulana told us that Uzma did not wish to return home, that she was in safe hands and that there was no need for us to visit her anymore.
“This statement came as an absolute shock to us. I told the Maulana that being Uzma’s father, I could not leave her in the presence of ‘na-mehrams’ (unrelated persons) but all in vain,” he said.
Afterwards, he said he repeatedly attempted to get his daughter back but Jamia Hafsa management did not allow her to leave. Mr Qayyum said he also tried to wed his daughter to her fiancé Muhammad Imran but again he was not allowed to do so.
Mr Qayyum said in his application that on July 3, 2014, he approached the Commissioner of Islamabad and the police and was told to appear in court before Magistrate First Class Kamran Cheema.
The next day the court ordered that Uzma be sent to Dar-ul-Aman, a government refuge for distressed women, in Rawalpindi’s Shamsabad locality, for three days and directed the police to bring her before the court again.
But on the appointed date of July 7, the magistrate was on leave. He heard the case on his return on July 9 in his chamber, said Mr Qayyum.
While the parents sat in the courtroom, the magistrate ordered that Uzma be sent to Jamia Hafsa.
Extremely perturbed by the course of events, the father said: “We approached various Ulema, including Mufti Taqi Usmani, and requested them to intervene in the matter. Those who responded to our requests displayed their inability to persuade Maulana Abdul Aziz and Umme Hassan in this regard.”
“We also learnt from various sources that the administration of Jamia Hafsa brainwashes young, impressionable girls studying in various seminaries with the aim to convincing them to join Jamia Hafsa so that they can be used for the purposes of furthering the extremist agendas of Maulana Abdul Aziz and Umme Hassan, and their organisation - the Shuhada Foundation,” he said.
Rejecting the allegations at the time they were first made, Umme Hassan had hinted to Dawn that it was a case of Uzma running away from a forced marriage. She had also said that in the statement Uzma gave to the magistrate she had said that she did not want to return to her family.
Published in Dawn, December 30th, 2014