NEW DELHI: “My relation with her will always remain the same. She is and will forever remain like my mother,” Uzma Ahmed says about former Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj, who had ensured that the 29-year-old woman was rescued from Pakistan and brought to India. Swaraj did not contest this year’s Lok Sabha election due to health issues. The nine-time MP was among the people’s favourite ministers in the previous NDA government due to her prompt response to desperate calls for assistance, whether on Twitter or any other platform.
It was Swaraj who contacted JP Singh, India’s former Deputy High Commissioner in Islamabad, for enabling Uzma’s return to her homeland in 2017. Uzma had met a Pakistani man, Tahir Ali, in Malaysia where she fell in love with him and went on to meet him in the neighbouring country where she found that he was a father of four children.
Later, Tahir had forced her to marry him at gunpoint. Uzma somehow managed to approach the Indian High Commission. On 25 May 2017, the Delhi resident was brought back to India. Swaraj had hugged Uzma as scores of cameras flashed to capture the moment. She went on to call Uzma the “daughter of India”.
In April, Uzma set up her beauty parlour ‘Falak’ at Brahmpuri area. She plans to open another branch of Falak in Dehradun, the city where she completed her schooling from Indian Cambridge School. “I and a few of my friends are planning to open the second branch at Dehradun with the help of friends.”
“Whether she (Swaraj) is in the MEA or not, things will never change between us. She gave me a second life. I had invited her to visit ‘Falak’, but she was busy because of election campaigning.“There could be many people in my situation. We are all human beings… I believe help will continue,” says the mother of a seven-year-old daughter.