Islamabad: Pakistan on Wednesday said it will send back an Indian woman, who was allegedly sexually abused after her forced marriage with a Pakistani man at gunpoint, as soon as the legal issues in the case are resolved.
Advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said the real problem in her case was legal issues and not the travel documents.
“The problem is not related to her travel documents, but stems from legal issues,” Aziz said. “she will be sent back to India as soon as the legal problems are resolved,” he said. Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakaria yesterday said that FO and Indian authorities were in touch over the issue and the woman would be allowed to go back once her legal issues are settled.
He said the Indian High Commission have provided details about the woman and has also sought documents of her marriage. However, a senior lawyer of the Supreme Court told PTI on condition of anonymity due to sensitivity of the issue that the woman, identified Uzma, can be repatriated immediately if she is issued a new passport by Indian High Commission and Pakistan’s interior ministry issues a visa to legalise her stay.
“Marriage or court proceedings are not a legal bar on her going back to India. She can delegate power of attorney to anyone to contest her case with the help of a lawyer,” he said. The lawyer also said that marriage contracted through force can be dissolved by the court, if she testifies.
“Even if it is legal marriage, she can file case for Khula (a kind of divorce right exercised by Muslim woman) and her marriage would be dissolved by the court,” he said.
Uzma on May 8 filed a plea with a court in Islamabad against her husband Tahir Ali alleging that she was being harassed and intimidated by him. She also recorded her statement before magistrate Haider Ali Shah. She told the magistrate that she came to Pakistan to see her relatives and not for marriage, a court official told PTI.
“I was forced to marry at gunpoint and my immigration documents were also taken away from me,” she said, according to the official. Uzma, who was brought to the court under strict security, also alleged in her statement that she was subjected to violence and sexual abuse by Tahir, said the court official.
She further said she does not want to leave the Indian High Commission premises till she could safely travel back to India. The court adjourned the case till July 11 and issued notices to Tahir to appear for next hearing. It also summoned cleric Humayun Khan, who solemnised the marriage, to appear in person in the court on the next hearing.
The cleric has said that he had asked Uzma if she was marrying by free will and she responded in affirmative. Tahir in his application to local police station on May 5 had said they had come to Indian High Commission to get visa as Uzma’s brother in India had invited them for honeymoon.
He said he stayed outside and Uzma went inside the High Commission but never came back. He had asked police to help recover his wife who in his opinion was held against her will. Uzma reached Pakistan on May 1 and travelled to Buner district in the northwestern province of Khyber-Pakhtukhwa to marry Tahir on May 3. The couple reportedly met in Malaysia, where Tahir was working as taxi-driver.
However, the story took a turn when Uzma claimed she was forcefully married to Tahir and that she was unaware about him being already married.