Uzma Ahmed, the Indian woman who was forced to marry a Pakistani man at gunpoint, painted a grim picture of her ordeal in Pakistan.
“It’s easy to enter Pakistan. But it’s nearly impossible to leave. Pakistan is a death trap. I’ve seen women who go there after arranged marriages. They’re miserable and living in terrible circumstances. There’re two, three, even four wives in every house,” a visibly emotional Uzma said at a press conference on Thursday.
Uzma, who returned to India earlier in the day after crossing the Wagah border near Amritsar, revealed there were many women like her still trapped in the town of Buner, Pakistan.
“If I’d remained here for a few days more, I would have died. They lure women from east Asian countries like Phillipines, Malaysia… there’re many women like me still trapped there,” she alleged.
Uzma was also profuse in expressing her gratitude to the Indian government for rescuing her.
“I’m grateful to the Indian High Commission and EAM Sushma Swaraj, who gave me hope and a reason to live. They made me realise that my life was valuable, it was not futile. So I fought hard against my circumstances there,” she said.
Foreign minister Sushma Swaraj, who has called Uzma ”India’s daughter”, also thanked the Pakistani establishment and judiciary for helping Uzma return to India on humanitarian grounds.
“Uzma is here because of the cooperation of Pakistan’s foreign and home ministries. I thank lawyer Shahnawaz Noon, who fought her case like a father,” Swaraj said at the press conference.
Uzma, who is in her early 20s and belongs to New Delhi, is believed to have met and fallen in love with Tahir Ali in Malaysia.
She told the Islamabad High Court that Ali forced her into marrying him in Pakistan on May 3, when she was visiting that country.
She petitioned the court on May 12, requesting it to allow her to return home urgently as her daughter from her first marriage in India suffered from thalassaemia — a blood disorder characterised by abnormal haemoglobin production.
The court ordered Ali to return her immigration papers which she said had been taken away from her. Ali submitted the documents, enabling her to leave Pakistan.
Accompanied by Indian mission officials and escorted by Pakistani police personnel, she crossed into India through the Wagah Border and touched the soil of her motherland after she entered Indian territory.
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