LAHORE: A 55-year-old nikah registrar who already has two wives allegedly demanded sex from a 25-year-old divorcee and her widower mother in exchange for testifying in a suit for the recovery of Rs1.5 million
*Sameena Shaikh, 25, in her suit named Abdul Ghafoor Sandrana, 55, nikah registrar of Union Council No 32 Dhaka near Begum Kot Shahdara, as a witness who would support her claim that Rs1.5 million had been put down as the dower amount on the nikahnama. This amount is to be paid to the wife by the husband.
But when the court summoned Sandrana to record his statement, he made several demands from Shaikh, through her mother *Nabiha Kalsoom, 45, including that she marry him. “When I refused, he asked me to spend at least one night with him,” Kalsoom told The Express Tribune.
Kalsoom had recorded calls on her mobile phone which corroborated her story. She played the calls for The Tribune. The caller sounded like Sandrana.
“When I refused his second demand, he asked me to at least find another girl for him to marry. I told him I would try,” she said. In return, he promised to give his testimony in their favour in the court of Civil Judge Rahila Umar on December 14. Kalsoom said Sandrana had called her several times and asked her to visit his office in Shahdara. “When I went once, he asked everyone else sitting in the office to leave and started trying to win me over. He also asked me to bring my daughter to his office but I never did,” she said.
Kalsoom said that her husband had died in 2007 and she had one other daughter and one son who worked in a factory.
Sandrana denied making any demands of Kalsoom or Shaikh and insisted that the mobile phone recording was fake. He said that according to his record, Rs1.5 million was fixed as the dower amount in Shaikh’s nikahnama. He said his testimony in court would be truthful.
Shaikh told The Express Tribune that she had married her cousin Mohsin Ali in April 2007, shortly after her father’s death, without his parents’ knowledge. They had lived together in a rented house for a year and a half before Ali’s father found out and convinced his son to leave her, Shaikh said. “He divorced me through a phone call and an SMS,” she said. The secretary of UC-32, Mian Muzammil, said that the union council record also showed Rs1.5 million as the dower. He said he had been summoned by the court to testify on Thursday, but couldn’t do so due to a lawyers’ strike.
Ali disputes the marriage suit. His lawyer has told the court that the dower amount was fixed at Rs500 and accused union council officials and the nikah registrar of tampering with the nikahnama.
*Names have been changed to protect identities.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 13th, 2010.