Pakistani mother,, India, Seema Haider, Sachin Meena
Seema was frustrated with her husband's absence and being forced to take care of four children by herself as she had no support even from her in-laws, said the police in Karachi. Pic: PTI

Family, neighbours of Pakistani woman who came to India for her lover don't want her back

A Pakistani mother of four, who sneaked into India to live with a Hindu man whom she befriended through an online gaming platform, has been ostracised by her family and neighbours in Karachi for daring to defy the societal norms in this conservative Muslim country.

Seema Ghulam Haider and Sachin Meena got in touch while playing PUBG in 2019 and a dramatic love story unfolded between the two living more than 1,300 kms apart, in countries not too friendly to each other.

Seema, 30, and Sachin, 22, live in the Rabupura area of Greater Noida, near Delhi, where he runs a provision store, according to Uttar Pradesh Police.

While Seema was arrested on July 4 for illegally entering India without a visa via Nepal with her four children, all aged below seven years, Sachin was put behind bars for sheltering the illegal immigrants.

Not wanted in Pakistan

While they were released from jail recently, the news from across the border is not so positive. Seema’s neighbours and a relative made it clear to PTI that they don’t want her back in Pakistan.

“She should just send her children back to Pakistan. She can stay there. Now she is no longer even a Muslim,” said the 16-year-old son of the landlord in whose rented home Seema stayed with her children for the last three years before deciding to illegally enter India to be with her Hindu lover.

The story of how this largely uneducated mother of four and the wife of a husband working abroad could have the courage in Pakistan’s largely conservative society to abandon everything and enter India illegally to be with a much younger man still fascinates everyone in her neighbourhood.

Also read: Pakistani woman arrested for crossing LoC in J-Ks Poonch

Her home is in the neighbourhood of Bhittaiabad, a Katchi Abadi in the heart of Gulistan-e-Jauhar, and is nothing much to talk about as it is a three-room portion in a building devoid of any paint and located in a narrow lane full of garbage and overflowing sewerages.

The stench of sewage is toxic in the air as one drives down the crowded un-constructed lane and broken road bustling with people and shops on both sides with flies aplenty and a general unsanitary environment.

As soon as one reaches Seema’s house, one myth is broken that her husband Ghulam Haider who works in Saudi Arabia brought her the house for ₹1.2 million.

“No, she was a tenant with us for three years with her children. She lived alone with her children. Her father-in-law lives some distance away from here,” explained Nur Muhammad, the landlord’s son.

‘Shocked’, say neighbours

Seema and Ghulam Haider had eloped 10 years back to Karachi and got married against the wishes of their parents.

“We saw her call a taxi and leave one day with her children and some bags and we thought she was going to her village in Jacobabad. But after nearly a month, when we heard about her escapade on TV channels, we were all shocked,” adds Jamal Jakhrani, an elderly man, who was her neighbour.

Efforts to try to talk to the Pakistani women in the narrow lane failed as the area is mostly inhabited by tribal area Pashtuns, Sindhis and Seraikis from rural areas and the men don’t allow their women to talk to strangers and make them observe Purdah.

But one noticed some women peeking out of their windows and main door inquisitive to know what was happening.

Jamal, who belongs to the same tribe that Seema and Ghulam Haider belong to, believes it is best Seema remains in India now.

“If ever she thinks of coming back, she will not be forgiven by the tribe and secondly her decision to stay with a Hindu has angered everyone now, Jamal said.

Anomalies in Seema’s case

Mian Mithoo, a high-profile religious leader in rural Sindh, known for using his seminary to convert Hindu girls to Islam and even bandits, has openly threatened to punish Seema if she returns.

His supporters have also threatened to attack Hindu worship places in Seema’s village in Pakistan but SSP Kashmore-Kandhkot, Irfan Samoo, assured Hindus and Sikhs they would be protected.

Samoo, however, is puzzled by the whole case and has found anomalies in Seema’s documents and tale.

The national identity card of the Pakistani woman Seema says she was born in 2002. So, she should be 21 years of age now and yet she has four children all up to the age of 6 years, he said. Samoo also said the police have asked Ghulam Haider to return from Saudi Arabia but he has been in touch with them only on video or phone calls.

Samoo is not convinced that a Pakistani woman with a rural background would have the courage to plan her way to India via Dubai and Kathmandu.

An officer at the police station in Karachi where Seema’s father-in-law filed an FIR is also not convinced that it is a simple case as it looks. The husband also keeps changing his stories to the police. First, he said he bought the house, now, he says he paid one million rupees to Seema’s family to settle a tribal decision when they first fled to Karachi, he said.

Frustrated with husband’s long absence

One thing is clear, this Pakistani mother was frustrated with her husband’s absence and being forced to take care of four children by herself as she had no support even from her in-laws, he said.

Malik, a mobile shop owner, remembers how after a year that Seema moved into the neighbourhood, she used to visit his shop to get her balance recharged frequently.

“She always wore a chaddar over her head and had half of her face covered and also didn’t talk much so that is what surprised me when I learnt about her decision,” said Malik.
Maulvi Samiuddin, a prayer leader in the neighbourhood mosque, was initially not even willing to talk about the incident but then says Seema was evil.

Husbands should never leave their wives alone for years and parents need to constantly keep a watch on their daughters and sisters or we will have more such incidents in future as well because most people, especially women, are not educated enough in such poor neighbourhoods to understand the consequences of their actions, he said.

She has brought shame to Muslims and Pakistanis. She will sooner or later face punishment for her actions, he said.

(With input from agencies)

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