When a man thinks he's a good husband and a father, then abandons his wife, his daughter and his responsibility to take care of his family - he's not that man anymore.
I was informed about the Sameera Rehman case in March of 2022 by Kashif Ghayas of LFXTV when he asked me to look into it. I had no idea Sameera spent almost 5 years in a prison cell in India for crossing the border illegally from Nepal with her former husband Shihab. But according to Sameera, she did so upon his coercion, insistence and persuasion, and ended up alone in that prison when she was 3 months pregnant.
Shihab was allegedly let go by the Indian authorities after some beatings and harassment under suspicion of being Pakistani intelligence agents or terrorists, and then Shihab eventually let Sameera and Sana go too. After almost 5 years of imprisonment, with broken promises and no support from her former husband, she took the plea deal and accepted that she made a mistake, and asked the court to allow her to return to Pakistan with her daughter Sana. Sahana Basavapatna a kind hearted attorney in Bengaluru, Karnataka, picked up Sameera's case and helped her get out of prison. Sahana continues to fight the "Identity Wars" for Sameera and Sana from Karnataka to get them justice. All her family cut ties, Shihab and his family cut ties, basically, everyone threw both girls under the bus and nobody wanted to look back.
After an extensive search by investigative reporter Khurram Riaz of Justice News Urdu in Islamabad, we were able to locate Sameera and her 5 year old daughter Sana Fatima in Lahore Pakistan. It took a while to understand why Sana was not smiling like how a 5 year old little girl would smile. Something wasn't right.
Things haven't been well for both of them since being released from the Karnataka prison in India. A few months after incarceration, her former husband Shihab abandoned her and their daughter Sana and refused to be a part of their lives. Sameera was left with no choice so she and Sana spent the next 5 years in prison, alone, as suspected terrorists.
Sameera says Sana was born prematurely in the hospital but with a hole in her heart, and by the grace of God, it was healed later. But due to different health complications Sana's been unwell ever since and is undernourished at the age of 5. She bleeds urine at times and vomits blood, which are alarming signs. She says Sana needs a full physical and internal body analysis to find out exactly what is going on with this little girl. Sameera works 9 hours a day at a factory and leaves Sana with an acquaintance at the womens hostel where they stay.
Things got worse on the day of our interview when Sana started to bleed again in the toilet and Sameera rushed her to a local hospital but returned back home without buying all the medications for Sana.
Sana does not have any citizenship. India has refused to accept her as an Indian citizen, so far, despite being born in India and to an Indian father but technical laws are delaying things. Pakistan is not interested in giving Sana their citizenship either though they eventually gave it to her mother, after a lot of hard work put in by Sahana, a Pakistani senator Irfan Siddiqui and BBC Urdu. Pakistan and it's neighbor India have fought viciously in the past and they hate each other so their people suffer at the cost of state rivalries.
In situations like these I wish I could build a country and give citizenship to children like these and to their parents so they can get a fair shot at fixing the wrong done to them and rebuild their lives for the better.
Our interview was delayed, but who cares about the interview when a child is bleeding in the same house. The mother and daughter required urgent help. Sameera did not have enough money for the medicines. We had no choice left but to try and help her but I was broke as usual and had no idea what to do except ask God for help. So the Almighty God sent it, and I won't forget it and I thank God for that. As soon as the news was shared with the Justice News Urdu group on Whatsapp, Kashif Ghayas of LFXTV initiated the support of LFX Friends on the ground in Karachi led by Kamran Mirza and organized a strategy to deliver the medicines to Sameera in Lahore so Sana's bleeding can stop. The medicines reached in time. On the second day of taking those medicines, Sana's bleeding stopped - by the grace of the God.
Sameera's story is not the only story out there, this is just the tip of the iceberg. She herself has left countless women behind who are seeking justice and the issue of getting justice, is just as bad in India or Pakistan as it is in the U.S. So, what do you do now?
To turn this entire experience into a concrete action plan Sameera has joined hands with Justice News USA and teamed up with LFXTV and J107 Justice Radio to establish Justice News Urdu and help other wrongfully or unjustly convicted women and children in Pakistan who are also in desperate need of help, just like Sameera and Sana, and seek justice for themselves and their children and families. This is in line with what we have tried to do at Justice News USA to help the wrongfully convicted people in America facing injustice and hardships at the hands of an unjust criminal justice system.
At Justice News Urdu Sameera Rehman, along with her colleagues Javeria Siddique and Khurram Riaz, will report the facts on the injustices she has faced in the hope of helping herself and also helping many other women suffering in jails and prisons across Pakistan and India where there is no one to help them, except God, and the help that He decides to send in whichever way that He wishes. These three Urdu journalists are also co-hosting Justice News Urdu podcast, Lost Voices, Gumshuda Awazain, where Sameera, along with her colleagues Khurram and Javeria, cross-examine cases of wrongful convictions, murder, torture and other injustices taking place in small towns and cities across Pakistan that are mostly ignored by state, corporate and propaganda media.
For Sameera, she doesn't want to be at the 9 hour factory work and not be able to take care of her unwell child Sana who needs her mother more now after spending the first 5 years of her life in a Prison Cell. So why put yourself in this kind of a situation? Sameera says, it was Shihab or a much older man, already married with 3 kids, that her family was forcing her to marry.
This is a hard, life lesson, that you cant just trust someone blindly and give them your life or throw it all away because they say they love you so trust them, you can also trust them to betray you and leave you hanging. This is also a wake up call for all the girls out there, is that guy really worth the fight? Think about it - And then think about it again - before you make any final decisions to regret. Trust is not given - Trust is earned.
For Sana, this new outside world is daunting, but she's a kid warrior who survived prison, but at the same time, she keeps asking for Papa. Imagine being born in a prison, and thats been your only home for the first 5 years of your life and then suddenly you're on the outside and your Mom keeps disappearing on you for 9 hours a day, with no family or friends to look after you. No one to talk to. No one to play with. Imagine what must be going on in that little girl's mind. I was thinking about that while playing with my granddaughter Myra today. A kid needs someone. They don't care who you are, they just need your care.
If this was not a wrongful conviction, or an unusual or harsh and unjust punishment - then it means all the man made law books on this earth today turned out to be nothing but a pile of massive paper garbage that was used, all this time, as hand wipes and toilet paper. Now all that you can do with that garbage, is to burn it all down, and it will be justified.