SUKKUR: Early Saturday morning, S* burst into the Ahmedpur police station in Khairpur begging for shelter.
For the distraught woman, what had seemed like the perfect opportunity to start over after a painful divorce quickly morphed into a nightmare.
A couple of weeks ago, S, who hails from Vehari in Punjab, had met the vice president of the Pakistan People Party’s Kingri women wing. The ruling party member was in town to meet her relatives and bumped into S, who had been struggling to support her two children after a gruelling divorce, she claimed.
The political activist offered her a job in Khairpur, and she jumped at the opportunity. Packing her belongings, she headed south with her two children, thinking about starting a new life, S claimed. Unfortunately this is where her luck ran dry.
Soon after S arrived in Khairpur, the lady took her to a man named A, assuring her that he would give her a job. However, the man forced her to marry him and she then found out that he had paid Rs110,000 to “purchase” her from the political leader, the woman told the police.
After weeks in captivity, S managed to flee from A’s house and headed straight to the police station. After she narrated the incident to the head constable, Ghulam Nabi Narejo, the law enforcers took her to the Khairpur district and sessions court.
The court directed the police to shift her to the Darul Aman and register a case against the ruling party’s leader and the man accused of forcefully marrying her. But the head constable says they have yet to receive a written order from the court and will act when they get one.
When contacted by The Express Tribune, the political activist admitted she had gone to Vehari but refuted all other allegations.
“Recently, I visited Vehari where the woman’s maternal uncle and brother told me that S had been divorced and they wanted to find a suitable partner for her,” she said. “In my own town, [A] had been repeatedly asking me to find him a suitable wife.”
So she asked the woman’s uncle and brother to bring her to Khairpur so that S and A can be married, she added.
Refuting the allegations that she had sold off S, the politician claimed that she had spent money on her marriage instead. “These allegations are intended to ruin my reputation,” she believed.
Tauqeer Fatima Bhutto, the minister for women development and the head of the ruling party’s Larkana women wing, said that the party will take action against its member if she was found guilty. “We will provide S justice,” she said. “We want to empower women not exploit them.”
*Names changed to protect privacy
Published in The Express Tribune, October 8th, 2012.