NEW DELHI: Uzma Ahmed, the Indian woman who was allegedly forced to marry a Pakistani man at gunpoint during her visit there, dubbed Pakistan a “well of death” while narrating her ordeal on her return to the national capital on Thursday.
Seated alongside External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Indian Deputy High Commissioner in Islamabad JP Singh, and other senior ministry officials, an emotional Uzma said, “It’s easy to enter Pakistan but nearly impossible to leave that place.”
“Pakistan is a ‘maut ka kuan’ (well of death). I’ve seen women who go there after arranged marriages. They’re miserable and living in terrible condition. There are two, three, even four wives in every house,” she said.
She said Buner, the area where Tahir, the Pakistani man who married her at gunpoint, took her after giving her sleeping pills, was like a “Taliban-controlled” region.
Uzma said had she stayed there for a few more days she would have been dead. She broke down several times while recalling her ordeal before the national media.
She thanked Swaraj, Indian commission officials and other staffers for making her return possible.
Uzma, who is in her early twenties, hails from Delhi. She was allowed by the Islamabad High Court on Wednesday to return to India following a plea she filed with the court seeking its direction after her husband Tahir Ali “seized” her immigration papers and refused to return the documents.
She entered India through the Wagah Border crossing near Amritsar. She was accompanied by Indian commission officials and escorted by Pakistani police personnel.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said though there was tension between the two neighbours, the Pakistan foreign office and the home ministry played a key role in her return.
Swaraj showered words of praise on Uzma’s counsel barrister Shahnawaz and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani of the Islamabad High Court.
Swaraj said while the counsel treated Uzma as his child, the judge dealt with the case on humanitarian grounds and not through the prism of India-Pakistan relations as some people there wanted him to. “I heaved a sigh of relief as soon as she crossed the Wagah border,” Swaraj told reporters.