Indian national Uzma returns home from Pakistan following court orders

Published May 25, 2017
India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj consoles Uzma in New Delhi. Reuters
India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj consoles Uzma in New Delhi. Reuters
Uzma kisses her daughter after her arrival in New Delhi. —Reuters
Uzma kisses her daughter after her arrival in New Delhi. —Reuters

Uzma, an Indian national who claimed she had been forced to marry a Pakistani man at gunpoint in Buner earlier in May, returned to her home country via the Wagah border on Thursday, a day after the Islamabad High Court (IHC) gave her permission to do so.

Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj took to Twitter to welcome the 22-year-old back to India.

"Welcome home India's daughter. I am sorry for all that you have gone through," Swaraj wrote.

Uzma touches the feet of Sushma Swaraj as a mark of respect and gratitude. —AP
Uzma touches the feet of Sushma Swaraj as a mark of respect and gratitude. —AP

Indian Deputy High Commissioner J P Singh saw Uzma off in Islamabad and she was escorted to Wagah border crossing with strict security.

Uzma had filed a petition in the IHC seeking repatriation to India on the grounds that her daughter from an earlier marriage was a thalassaemia patient and she needed to see her.

The events leading up to Uzma's repatriation

Uzma met Tahir Ali, a resident of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, while the latter was working as a taxi driver in Malaysia eight months ago, according to a request for help lodged at Islamabad's Secretariat Police Station by Ali.

The two contracted a court marriage on May 3 in Buner, two days after Uzma arrived in Pakistan via the Wagah border on a visa sponsored by Ali’s father.

Uzma kisses her daughter Falak as she stands with Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj. —AP
Uzma kisses her daughter Falak as she stands with Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj. —AP

After the couple tied the knot, Uzma called her brother in New Delhi to relay the news to him. Her brother asked her to visit India on her honeymoon and told her she could find a man named Adnan at the Indian embassy who would be able to sort out their visas for the trip, Ali alleged.

"At the Indian embassy window, she asked about Adnan. A while later, a man came out and took her inside through gate number six. I waited and waited, and then at 7pm I asked at the embassy gate if my wife was inside. They told me no one was inside," Ali claimed.

He had added that he then returned to the main gate on a shuttle bus, and noted that none of the three phones surrendered to the embassy by the couple at the time of entrance were returned to him.

It emerged later that she had sought refuge in the Indian High Commission and requested to be repatriated back to India.

Uzma told a lower court that Ali had forced her to enter a Nikkah contract at gunpoint and subsequently subjected her to physical and sexual abuse. He also confiscated her documents, she claimed.

Uzma and Ali had subsequently filed petitions in the IHC. While the former had requested to be repatriated to India, Ali had asked to be allowed to meet his wife.

During Wednesday's hearing at the IHC, Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani allowed Uzma to return to India but declined her husband’s request to meet her.

The court had asked Uzma if she wanted to meet with Ali and when she refused, the IHC bench observed that the court cannot force two people to live together.

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