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Ms. Tahira Hayat (27) and Mr. Saeed Hussain (29) from Azad Kashmir in Pakistan – who were in love and married before the First Class Magistrate in a civil court of Rawalpindi on January 26, 2012 – have been threatened by members of the Jihadi and banned terrorist groups for taking an un-Islamic course for marriage. It has been declared that they are liable to be killed wherever they are seen.

It is learnt that in 2007, the family members of Shah, the groom, had approached her family with a marriage-proposal between the two. The proposal was rejected by her parents on the ground that Shah, a transport driver, was not as well-educated as Tahira.

Tahira’s parents then forced her to marry her cousin in 2007 against her will. It is learnt that she had been beaten to comply with her parent’s wishes. After the marriage, she told her husband about her love for Shah, and that it would be difficult for her to carry on the marriage. As a result, her former husband divorced her in 2008. After the divorce, her parents treated her cruelly.

Meanwhile Tahira, a teacher, started her M. Ed. studies. During the M. Ed. examinations in January, she married Shah in the Rawalpindi civil court. Because love-marriage is against Islamic tradition, this infuriated her family and local Jihadi groups, and the couple went into hiding.

On January 28, when the couple was going to market from their hideout, more than six armed men tried to abduct her at gun point. As she was being dragged into a car, the couple begged the passers-by for help. With the help of people in the area, they were able to escape.

The couple informed the police, but since religious militants are involved, the police refused to file the case. The couple then filed an application before the First Class Magistrate of Rawalpindi in Punjab province.

It is learnt that on February 3, the parents of the girl with the help of officers from the Datot police station, Rawalakot, held a Jirga. The police forced the family members of the groom to attend. The jirga was heavily attended by the supporters of bride’s parents, including Molana Aftaab Kashir, Saleem Javed, Muhammad Hussain Bashani and Rasheed, who are leaders of banned Jihadi and terrorist groups. The bride’s parent’s party refused to accept apology from the groom’s family. They declared that the couple must be shot on sight. In front of the police, they demanded that groom’s family surrenders the couple, who would be shot in public before the whole community.

The girl’s father Hayat Khan Mughal with intervention of the police demanded the groom’s father to hand over Ms. Tahira, so that they could kill her in the name of honour as she had tarnished the honour of the Mughal family. They also demanded Rs. one million as well as one girl from the groom’s family as compensation. Police approved the deal, but the family members of the groom refused.

February 4 was fixed as the deadline to hand over the couple to Mughal’s family. Police was also instructed by the Jirga that if they arrest couple, they must hand them over to the Jihadi leaders for meting out the punishment.

When the couple was to visit the office of their lawyer in Rawalpindi, 130 kilometers away from their village, members of the Jihadi groups attacked the office premises with firearms, but were unable to enter the lawyer’s premises. They manhandled the people from the law office, and demanded at gun point about the whereabouts of the couple. They were ordered to inform them when the couple turn up.

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