May 2017
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Pakistan is a ‘well of death’, says Uzma Ahmed after returning to India
(New Delhi, May 25,2017):A young Indian woman, who said she was forced to marry a Pakistani man at gun point, returned on Thursday after a court in the neighbouring country facilitated her journey back home.

The plight of Uzma Ahmad, in her early 20s, had drawn countrywide sympathy and the Indian government had vowed to bring her back.

Her return also showed rare bonhomie between the warring neighbours with external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj thanking the Pakistani establishment and judiciary.

Accompanied by Indian High Commission officials and escorted by Pakistani police personnel, she crossed into India through the Wagah border crossing near Amritsar.

“It’s easy to go to Pakistan, but tough to return. Pakistan is a well of death. Even those who go there after arrange marriages are crying,” a tearful Uzma told reporters in New Delhi.

“They (in-laws) have tortured me in many ways, threatened to kidnap my daughter. So I agreed to marry him to save my daughter. He used to beat me up. Because of my daughter I signed it, they scared me so much that I signed,” Uzma said at the joint press conference with Swaraj.

Uzma had petitioned the court on May 12 requesting it to allow her to return home urgently as her daughter from her first marriage in India suffered from thalassemia -- a blood disorder characterised by abnormal haemoglobin production.

Uzma, who hails from Delhi, had taken refuge at the Indian High Commission in Islamabad.

Her husband, Tahir Ali, petitioned the court saying she was being forcibly kept at the high commission and that the marriage was not under coercion.

A single bench of Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani heard both the pleas and after hearing their arguments, he allowed Uzma to return to India.

She has said she was forced to marry Tahir at gunpoint. The two reportedly met in Malaysia and fell in love.

Uzma reached Pakistan on May 1 and travelled to the remote Buner district in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province where she was married to Tahir on May 3.

According to the law in Pakistan, her lawyer can continue to represent her in the case she has filed in the high court and she can return to pursue the case.

Swaraj, who described the woman as “India’s daughter”, said she felt “sorry for all that you have gone through”.

Swaraj said despite the tension between the two neighbours, the Pakistan foreign office and the home ministry played a key role in her return.

She 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 wanted him to.

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