Amidst a rain-soaked day in New Delhi, India, Sachin Meena from India and Seema Haider from Pakistan walked out of prison after being granted bail, marking the beginning of a new chapter in their lives.
Seema had been arrested on July 4 for illegally entering India via Nepal without a visa, accompanied by her four young children. On the other hand, Sachin had been incarcerated for providing shelter to undocumented immigrants.
In an interview with NDTV, Seema expressed her evolving sense of identity, stating, “My husband is a Hindu, so I am a Hindu. I feel I am an Indian now.”
Their love story unfolded in a manner reminiscent of a Bollywood movie. During the Covid pandemic, they connected while playing the online game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG). Their virtual interaction gradually blossomed into love, culminating in their marriage in Nepal in March of the current year, which also marked their first face-to-face meeting.
Seema narrated the challenging journey they undertook, saying, “It was such a long and arduous journey. I was very scared too. I first traveled from Karachi to Dubai, where we waited for 11 hours without sleep. From there, we flew to Nepal and finally made our way to Pokhara, where I met Sachin.”
After their initial meeting, Seema returned to Pakistan, while Sachin went back to India. Determined to be together, Seema sold a plot of land, arranging funds of Pakistani rupees 12 lakh. She then obtained flight tickets and a visa for Nepal for herself and her four children.
In May, Seema traveled from Pakistan to Nepal via Dubai, spending some time in the scenic city of Pokhara. From there, she embarked on a bus journey to Delhi, reaching Greater Noida on May 13, where Sachin had arranged rented accommodation for her, ensuring her Pakistani identity remained undisclosed.
Their cross-border love story took an unexpected turn when they were apprehended on July 4 and subsequently imprisoned. Seema faced charges of illegal entry into India, while Sachin was accused of providing shelter to an illegal immigrant.
However, their fortunes changed when Seema was granted bail, offering a glimmer of hope. Now, she is focusing on completing the necessary paperwork to formalize her transition to India.
Expressing her elation upon hearing the news of her release, Seema stated, “I shouted in joy when I heard the news. I had thought that I would be in jail for months.”
In a video message from Saudi Arabia, Seema’s husband, Ghulam Haider, appealed to the Indian government for assistance in reuniting him with his wife. However, Seema informed reporters that she had no intention of returning to Ghulam Haider, citing concerns for her safety if she were to go back to Pakistan.