A young bride goes to live with her husbands family in Pakistan only to suffer a nightmarish experience at the hands of religious bigots. This article gives an exclusive account of the horrors suffered by the victim(s).
SIXTY YEARS AFTER the independence, ordinary people still pay the price of religious laws and bigotry, enacted to prolong the animosity between nations, tribes, religions, in complete defiance of universal declaration of human rights and United Nations charter.
M Kaur, her full identity hidden for safety, is a Sikh girl from Malaysia. She met her husband four years ago in UK (United Kingdom) while studying at the university. He was a student from Pakistan and a Muslim. They had a UK registration marriage as well as temple wedding, to keep her parents happy about the marriage. The husband, after completing his studies had to return back to Pakistan, as he could no longer stay in UK. The bride also followed him to Pakistan, to settle down with the in-laws permanently. According to the interviewer, she had intended to stay there for a long time but when she arrived there, she had not anticipated the turmoil her presence would create.
The happy couple had to face a really ugly situation. The relatives started threatening them because of religious differences. At the place where they stayed on rent, their landlord stayed downstairs and happened to be the grand imam in the Islamabad University mosque. He and his family kept on harassing them and pressurizing her to convert, at first by giving religious books to study. They also kept questioning them. They were in the house most of the time constantly interrogating them. Even when the couple used to go out, they would be stopped and told that the wife is supposed to keep purdah or veil when leaving the house and that she should only wear shalwar kameez, keep her hair long, wear no makeup etc.
This harassment went on every day. Then came the bombshell that couple were infidels and had committed blasphemy by insulting the institution of marriage and that their marriage was illegal. The Shariah law of Pakistan considers marriage between non- Muslims (Hindus/Sikhs) and Muslims a heresy and adultery punishable by stoning to death. The couple got a threatening letter from a religious party in Pakistan that they must convert or face the fatwa of death imposed on them.
Some of the couple’s relatives are in Jamaat-e-Islami. The Imam is from a part of POK (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir) where Jaish-e-Mohammed is active. Some of his neighbours are high officials of the Mosque city of Islamabad. Others were the students of Jamia Faridia and Lal Masjid, who disappeared before latest action against the Red Mosque. The Imam is a close associate of Abdul Aziz and Ghazi Abdul Rashid of the Red Mosque.
Ms. Kaur’s parents-in-law suffered total social boycott in the area due to the Imam and their hostile relatives. During Friday sermons, local mosques started naming them without taking names that non-Muslims were spreading filth and obscenity by luring Muslim youngsters on loudspeakers.
Due to the increasing magnitude of harassment and the threats, Ms. Kaur decided to leave Pakistan within three weeks of arriving and came back to UK. A few days before this, young men hiding their faces in scarves, with their beards showing underneath and threatening that he will be killed soon, beat up her husband quite badly. Fearing for their lives family (in-laws) went into hiding.
The Sikh wife, while in UK, appealed to the Amnesty International and the Chief Justice of Pakistan to take note of their situation, but none of the newspapers printed her story due to fear of a Taliban reprisal.
Murtads or infidels who change their religion are punishable by death penalty in Pakistan’s Shariat courts.