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Coordinating with Pakistan for safe return of Indian woman: MEA

LiveMint logoLiveMint 08-05-2017 PTI

New Delhi: India is coordinating with the Pakistan Foreign Office for the safe return of a woman who has alleged that she was sedated, tortured and forced to sign a nikah nama at gunpoint in Pakistan, the external affairs ministry said on Monday.

The woman’s brother met external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and sought the government’s help in rescuing his sister at the earliest, the ministry’s spokesperson Gopal Baglay said. He also noted that the young Indian woman, who had sought shelter at the Indian High Commission in Islamabad on 5 May, on Monday recorded her statement in the court of judicial magistrate in Islamabad, as per local legal requirement. “In her statement, she said that she was sedated, assaulted, tortured mentally and physically in Pakistan by a Pakistani man who had met her in Malaysia, invited her to visit his family in Pakistan and provided the requisite sponsorship letter to the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi for her visa... She also stated that the same man also made her sign nikah nama at gunpoint,” the spokesperson said.

The woman stated that she had taken a shelter at the Indian High Commission of her own accord and would stay there till she is sent back to India. “The high commission has provided her necessary consular and legal assistance. It is coordinating with Pakistan Foreign Office for the safe return of the lady to India and is also in touch with her family in India on the matter. Her brother met the external affairs minister and requested the government’s help to rescue his sister at the earliest,” he added. The woman, identified as Uzma, and the Pakistani national, Tahir Ali, reportedly met in Malaysia and fell in love after which she travelled to Pakistan on 1 May via the Wagah border.

Their ”nikah” was solemnised on 3 May. But the situation changed when they visited the Indian High Commission on Friday. Uzma went inside the building of the mission and did not return, according to her husband. Ali has filed a complaint with local police that she was detained against her will. Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakaria had on Sunday said that “the Indian High Commission informed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that an Indian national, Ms Uzma, 20, had approached them with the request to be repatriated to India.”

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