May 8, 2017 10:41:21 pm
In a new twist to the case, Uzma, the 20-year-old Indian woman who has taken refuge at the Indian High Commission in Islamabad, told a court in Pakistan on Monday that she was “sedated, assaulted, tortured — mentally and physically”, and was forced to marry the Pakistani man, Tahir Ali, “at gunpoint”.
On Sunday, the Pakistan Foreign Ministry had said that “the Indian High Commission informed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that… Uzma had approached them with the request to be repatriated to India.” The Pakistan Foreign Ministry said that according to the Indian High Commission, Uzma claimed to have married Tahir and alleged that she later came to know that he was already married and has four children.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Monday that the Indian High Commission in Islamabad was working with the Pakistan Foreign Ministry for her “safe return”, as desired by Uzma and her family. Her brother has met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
“The young Indian woman, who sought shelter in the Indian High Commission in Islamabad on May 5, 2017, today recorded her statement in the Court of Judicial Magistrate First Class in Islamabad, as per local legal requirement,” said MEA spokesperson Gopal Baglay.
According to Baglay, Uzma said in her statement that “she was sedated, assaulted, tortured mentally and physically in Pakistan by a Pakistani man who had met her in Malaysia, invited her to visit his family in Pakistan and provided the requisite sponsorship letter to the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi for her visa. She also stated that the same man also made her sign Nikah Namah at gunpoint.”
Uzma is reported to have told the court that she had taken shelter at the Indian High Commission of her own accord and would stay there till she is sent back to India with security.
“The Indian High Commission has provided her necessary consular and legal assistance. It is coordinating with Pakistan Foreign Office for her safe return and is also in touch with her family in India on the matter. Her brother met the External Affairs Minister and requested the government’s help to rescue his sister at the earliest,” said the spokesperson.
Uzma filed a plea with a court in Islamabad, alleging that she was being harassed and intimidated by Tahir. She also recorded her statement before a magistrate.
The Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi said the immigration documents showed that Uzma obtained her visa under the “visitor category”. Pakistan’s authorities have said she did not share her plans to marry in Pakistan when she applied for the visa, and only expressed her intent to visit her relatives in Pakistan.
Tahir, meanwhile, has accused the Indian High Commission in Islamabad of detaining Uzma and filed a case with the local police.
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