The desperate hunger for a path to permanent residence abroad, which has led to many young Pakistanis marrying much older women abroad for their citizenship, has led to the hawking of young women born abroad for their citizenships. This is the apparent cause of the Gujrat tragedy, which led to the murder of two sisters, Anisa and Urooj. who had been married to their cousins here in Pakistan, in Gujrat, so that the young men could get Spanish visas, on the basis of their wives’ citizenship. Unfortunately, the girls did not cooperate and instead demanded divorces soon after they arrived in Pakistan.
Whether or no they wanted to get married in Spain, it is clear that the great attraction was their ability to get visas for their husbands. This should not be a motive for marriage. The families which have daughters abroad cannot really be faulted for wanting their daughters to meet Pakistani standards, but cannot expect them not to be affected by the country of their birth and upbringing. Objections to grooms from a village in Pakistan, whom they may have never seen before, should not be ascribed to a bad character, or improper raising, but might simply be because of a natural antipathy.
An important factor is preventing recurrence. The case of Anisa and Urooj was not the first, and will probably not be the last as more and more girls are born in the Diaspora, and more and more uncles and aunts see them as passports for sons. (The girls’ uncle, Hanif Goga, is among the accused.) Gujrat, a centre of migration, is also likely to remain a focal area. The police generally, but the Gujrat police particularly, must up its game, and become more approachable for such potential victims. Such family dramas never lack warning, but potential victims fear that typical Punjab Police cops will do less to help them than the other side. If approached, the police can do much. Like preventing the crime, instead of nabbing the culprits.