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Indian woman ‘forced by Pakistani to marry’ seeks security for journey home

Uzma, the Indian woman who has accused a Pakistani man of forcing her into marriage, approached the Islamabad high court to seek duplicate travel documents so that she can return home.

world Updated: May 12, 2017 19:29 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Screengrab from video footage of Uzma, who says she was forcibly married to a Pakistani man, talking to reporters after she appeared in a judicial magistrate’s court in Islamabad on May 8.
Screengrab from video footage of Uzma, who says she was forcibly married to a Pakistani man, talking to reporters after she appeared in a judicial magistrate’s court in Islamabad on May 8.(Twitter)

The Indian woman who has accused a Pakistani man of forcing her into marriage petitioned the Islamabad high court on Friday for duplicate travel documents and security so that she could return home.

There was drama within the courtroom when an Indian diplomat was reportedly spotted taking pictures with his mobile phone. He was let off only after he offered verbal and written apologies.

The petition filed by Uzma, the 20-year-old woman from New Delhi, said the Pakistani man, Tahir Ali, had deceived her as he was already married and that he stole her passport and other travel documents.

The petition, filed on Uzma’s behalf by her counsel Malik Shah Nawaz Noon and Piyush Singh, first secretary (consular and visa) in the Indian high commission, also sought security for her return to India via the Wagah land border crossing.

“My five-year-old daughter Falak is ill and I have to meet her,” Uzma said in the petition, according to Pakistani media reports. “Tahir deceived me and force me to marry him at gunpoint. He even stole my passport and travelling documents.”

The petition added, “I urge the court to ask the Foreign Office to issue duplicate travel documents so that I may travel back to India.”

During the hearing, Piyush Singh was reportedly spotted taking pictures with his mobile phone. When court officials brought the matter to the notice of Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, he ordered the confiscation of the mobile phone and said the action amounted to a breach of the court’s decorum.

Media reports said Singh took three photos inside the courtroom, including one of Kayani.

Kayani ordered the Indian diplomat to submit a written apology to the court after Singh verbally apologised. Singh offered a written apology. The court accepted his apology and warned him not to repeat the act.

Uzma’s petition asked the court to restrain Ali from harassing her. She also sought exemption for reporting to police and permission to return to India.

Ali had earlier sought the Islamabad high court’s intervention to meet his wife in a “free atmosphere” so that he could clear up any misunderstandings. He claimed Uzma recorded a statement against him before a judicial magistrate under “duress and pressure” from her brother and officials of the Indian mission.

On May 8, Uzma informed the judicial magistrate that she was deceived, sexually abused and forced to marry Ali at gunpoint. Uzma said she had taken refuge at the Indian mission because she felt threatened and wanted to go back to New Delhi.

However, Ali has said that Uzma was aware that he was already married and had four children.

Earlier this week, the Foreign Office said Uzma would be repatriated only after all legal formalities are completed.