AN Indian woman who claimed she was sexually assaulted by a Pakistani man who then forced her to sign marriage papers at gunpoint was allowed to return on Thursday after an Islamabad High Court gave her permission to leave.
The court, according to local media reports, also ordered the police to escort Uzma Ahmed to the Wagah Border.
On Twitter, Union Minister Sushma Swaraj welcomed Uzma home and said she was “sorry for all that you have gone through.” She also called Uzma “India’s daughter”.
Uzma – Welcome home India's daughter. I am sorry for all that you have gone through.
— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) May 25, 2017
The Times of India said an overwhelmed Uzma, upon crossing the border, reached down to touch the soil of her home country.
— ANI (@ANI_news) May 25, 2017
The women in her 20s, who hails from New Delhi, reportedly met Tahir Ali in Malaysia last year where the two fell in love.
“He was very soft-spoken and a nice person and used to talk to me in English,” Uzma was quoted in The Hindu as saying.
After returning to India, she remained in contact with Tahir, and on May 1, travelled to a remote district in Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province to meet him.
“He sent me the sponsor letter and I crossed into Pakistan via [the] Wagah border.”
In Pakistan, Uzma alleged she was fed sleeping pills and was then sexually assaulted while she was unconscious. She claimed Tahir then forced her to marry him, saying he would kill her if she refused.
“They took my signature on gunpoint. They made me marry forcibly, for which I was not mentally ready,” she alleged.
Uzma filed a case against Tahir at the Islamabad High Court on May 12, asking she be allowed to return home as her daughter from her first marriage was ill.
Tahir filed a separate petition, seeking permission to meet with Uzma, who was by then taking refuge at the Indian High Commission. She refused to see him.
The court on Wednesday allowed Uzma to return to India and returned her immigration papers, which she claimed had been forcibly taken away by Tahir.
The status of the couple’s marriage is not immediately known, although according to The Times of India, Tahir still calls Uzma his wife.
“She has been allowed to return and I am unhappy because my point of view was not heard,” he said. “She is still my wife. She has neither asked for divorce nor have I divorced her.”