Uzma Ahmad, an Indian woman who was forced to marry at gunpoint in Pakistan, returned home safely today via Wagah Border near Amritsar. Uzma, who is in her early 20s from New Delhi, is believed to have met and fallen in love with a Pakistani man, Tahir Ali, in Malaysia. When Uzma visited Pakistan to see the country with Tahir, the latter forced her to marry him at gunpoint, she told media today.
India’s External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, who was regularly in touch with her, and the Indian Embassy in Pakistan played crucial roles in saving Uzma’s life. She was allowed by the Islamabad High Court on Wednesday to return home following a plea she filed with the court, with the help of Indian Embassy, requesting its directive after her husband, Tahir Ali, took her immigration papers.
Uzma reached Pakistan on May 1 and was taken to the Buner district in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province where she was forced to marry Tahir on May 3.
Here is how Uzma narrated her ordeal in Pakistan to reporters in New Delhi today:
It is a big day for me, a day of a lot of happiness, that I have come back safely from a place like Pakistan and that too from Pakistan’s Buner, which you can say is a Taliban area.
I went to Pakistan as a tourist. The situation changed there so fast that I couldn’t notice when Tahir gave me sleeping pill and when I slept. From my point of view, it was kidnapping because I wasn’t aware that situation will change so drastically after crossing the Wagah Border. After reaching, I saw there was a weird village, with weird language and weird people. Nothing was right there.
If you search on Google, you will find that Buner was under Talibani occupation from 2008-10. Military operations also happen there often. Tahir tortured me in every possible way and even threatened me that he would get my daughter kidnapped and killed in Delhi.
There were guns in the house. They used to keep pistols with them.
I am an orphan. I am an adopted child. I didn’t know I was important. Sushma ma’am told me that it was a matter of pride in itself to be the “daughter of India.”
With much difficulty, I brought Tahir to the High Commission (Indian). If there was someone else in my place, it would have been very difficult for her to get out of that place. Had I stayed there for 2-3 more days, then I might not have remained alive. Because they would have killed me, or sold me somewhere or used me in some risky operation.
Most importantly, I was not the only person (trapped woman) there. In Buner, there are probably many girls like me. And it is not necessary they are Indian citizen. They can be from the Philippines because nobody has any business in Buner. Most of the people of Buner live in Malaysia. They bring girls from there, they use them, harass them as they want and no one can say them anything. Everyday firing takes place there. I spent 5-6 days there. Every day there is firing there. Everyone there has two-two wives.
I will try that what happened to me should not happen to anyone again.
Somehow I managed to bring Tahir to the Indian High Commission. The Indian High Commission instantly trusted me. When I said I was Indian, they immediately took me inside and took care of me.
It is easy to go to Pakistan. But coming back from there is impossible. Pakistan is well of death. You can’t come back from there. Normally, Muslim girls here (India) think Pakistan is very good because of Muslim culture. I was trapped, but even those who go to Pakistan after arranged marriage, are in trouble. They want to come back. But they can’t. Pakistan is completely like this. In every house, you will find 2-3-4 wives.
Whatever it is, our India is very good. Freedom is here. I am proud of this fact that I am an Indian.