Uzma Ahmed, the Indian woman who was allegedly forced to marry a Pakistani man at gunpoint during her visit there, dubbed Pakistan a "maut ka kuan" (well of death) while narrating her ordeal on her return to the national capital.
She returned home via the Wagah Border with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj saying she felt "sorry for all that you have gone through." Describing Uzma Ahmed as "India's daughter", Swaraj welcomed her to India. "I am sorry for all that you have gone through," she tweeted.
Seated alongside External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Indian Deputy High Commissioner in Islamabad JP Singh, and other senior ministry officials, an emotional Uzma said, "It’s easy to enter Pakistan but nearly impossible to leave that place.”
"Pakistan is a ‘maut ka kuan’ (well of death). I’ve seen women who go there after arranged marriages. They’re miserable and living in terrible condition. There are two, three, even four wives in every house,” she said.
She said Buner, the area where Tahir, the Pakistani man who married her at gunpoint, took her after giving her sleeping pills, was like a "Taliban-controlled” region.
Uzma said had she stayed there for a few more days she would have been dead. She broke down several times while recalling her ordeal before the national media.
She thanked Swaraj, Indian commission officials and other staffers for making her return possible.
Uzma, who is in her early twenties, hails from Delhi. She was allowed by the Islamabad High Court on Wednesday to return to India following a plea she filed with the court seeking its direction after her husband Tahir Ali "seized” her immigration papers and refused to return the documents.
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.
Later she came to Islamabad and took refuge in the Indian High Commission.
Addressing the media after Uzma's return, foreign minister Sushma Swaraj thanked the Pakistani government in an unusual show of warmth in the midst of fierce exchange of fire on the border after the beheading of two Indian soldiers.
Swaraj said it was significant that the Pakistani government had helped India's efforts to bring Uzma back despite the tension in bilateral ties. The lawyer who argued the case told the judge that it was a matter of Pakistan's prestige that Uzma should be allowed to exercise her choice.
Uzma's return was made possible through cooperation between the Indian high commission, whose efforts were led by deputy high commissioner J P Singh, and Pakistan's foreign and interior ministries.