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'Harassed' Indian widow returns home

Indian national Asha Patil, who alleged she was harassed by her Pakistani husband's family following his sudden death last month, left for her home in Mumbai.
By HT Correspondent | PTI, Lahore
UPDATED ON JUL 12, 2008 10:09 PM IST

Indian national Asha Patil, who alleged she was harassed by her Pakistani husband's family following his sudden death last month, left for her home in Mumbai on Saturday.

Asha, who adopted the name Ayesha Khalid after converting to Islam, thanked the Pakistan government for helping her in her efforts to get justice against members of her late husband's family who allegedly harassed her.

"I am grateful to the government, media and public of Pakistan for their help and cooperation..I have stopped planning for the future. I had left that to (her late husband) Khalid and he is no more," she said.

She also apologised in a personal capacity to Pakistanis for the death of four Pakistani nationals in Indian jails. "I deeply apologise for the pain caused by India. You got back (the bodies of four Pakistani prisoners) and I apologise for that," she told reporters in Lahore.

Earlier, Ayesha had vowed to return home only after local authorities took action against her in-laws. Though some of her husband's kin were arrested, they were later released on bail. For the past few weeks, Ayesha had been living with a cleric associated with the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam.

Ayesha's marriage to Lahore-based stockbroker Mumtaz Khalid came to the limelight because the couple had a protracted courtship of six years after meeting in an Internet chat-room in 2000. They married on the web in 2006 and Asha converted to Islam before coming to Pakistan a year later.

Khalid, who worked in the Lahore stock exchange, died recently at the age of only 30. After his death, Ayesha, who is two months' pregnant, registered a FIR against her in-laws in which she accused them of harassing and torturing her.

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