After the much talked about journey taken by Seema Haider to meet her online friend in India, we now have the case of Anju from Kailor, UP. Anju travelled to Upper Dir in KPK, Pakistan after obtaining a visa in Delhi. The purpose of her visit was to meet her Facebook friend Nasrullah, who she claims to have fallen in love with.  It is said that the two have been communicating with each other for a period of 4 years.  27-year-old Nasrullah, who is an ethnic Pathan, is a former school teacher and currently working as a medical representative.  35-year-old Anju is said to be married to a person in India.

Anju applied for a visa to Pakistan on June 21st 2023, which is before the news of Seema Haider broke on Indian media.  Also, it appears that Anju did not cross the border illegally, and was able to get there only after obtaining a proper visa.  According to the entry document, Anju crossed into Pakistan on foot through Wagha into Lahore and then travelled to Dir, which is around 640 km from Lahore.  Questions are arising about how Anju could have secured a visa to go into Dir, which is a very unusual tourist place for Indian citizens.  A visit visa for Pakistan is city bound, and is usually only given for a maximum 2 cities in Pakistan, and that too after in depth inquiries and a lot of paperwork to prove the person visiting the city has very strong ties to go there. Further, the holder of the visit visa has to report in the Foreigners’ office upon arriving into and departing from each city within a window of 24 hours.  The normal duration of a visit visa is not more than 10-12 days, and it is never extended.  However, in the case of Anju, the visa has been granted for 30 days and it is valid for Upper Dir only.

Nasrullah shared that they worked for 2 years to get Anju a visa, and now that she is in Pakistan, they will get engaged.  After the engagement, Anju will return to India and then come back again to get married to Nasrullah.

The treatment meted out to this story by the Pakistan media is in stark contrast to how the Indian media has reacted with Seema Haider.  Additionally, BBC Urdu has been the first to run the story, stating how there is no pressure on Anju to change religion.  Clearly this is an engineered attempt to make Indian media look bad and present Pakistan as a gracious and welcoming host to any Indian citizen.  Otherwise, the possibility of a Kafir staying in a Muslim household and the whole area ‘celebrating’ her arrival is far from reality in a country like Pakistan.

Dir is a remote district situated along the tribal belt in the KPK province and is notorious for subjugating women, where they are not allowed to cast votes because it is considered sinful and punitive.  Two years ago, the ‘tribal elders’ and traders association in the area had barred women from visiting the market for shopping without a male relative.  There is a minimum fine of PKR 1,00,000 on any woman who calls in to the local FM Radio station on their normal call-in shows.  As a province, KPK has faced a total of 665 terrorist attacks since June 2022.  Upper Dir itself has seen several grenade as well as IED attacks. The whole belt is considered one of the most volatile area prone to frequent acts of terrorism.  One wonders if Anju from a sleepy town in UP is aware of what she is getting into.

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