On July 4, Gautam Budh Nagar police in Uttar Pradesh arrested a woman from Pakistan for illegally entering India through Nepal with her four children
This is the story of a daring Pakistani woman Seema Ghulam Haider, who fell in love with an Indian man Sachin[S1] Meena in Uttar Pradesh, India. How did they get to know each other? Playing PubG during the Covid pandemic.
Sachin and his father Netrapal Singh were both jailed on July 4 for sheltering illegal immigrants which include Seema and her four young kids, all below 7. Netrapal was given bail by a district court on July 6, while Sachin and Seema secured bail on July 7.
Belonging to Rind Hajano in Khairpur Mir in southern Pakistan, Seema, now 27, was a bubbly energetic young girl always wanting more gun in life. Fond of dance and music, she never went to school but learnt to read and write at home. She has two sisters and one brother who, she says, serves in the Pakistan Army.
At 12, she lost her mother, was married off at 17, moved to Karachi after her wedding. Her husband left to work in Saudi Arabia in 2019 and then Covid struck.
Not being able to meet her father or sisters, she took refugee in watching TikTok for hours and playing online shooter game pubG where multiple players play at a time
“A lot of people in my Karachi neighbourhood turned to games. I first played Candy Crush, and then began playing PubG,” she told reporters.
17-year-old Sachin who worked at a local department store, lost his job after Covid, and was also gaming most of the time.
This is where their camaraderie grew, phone numbers were exchanged and talking for hours on Whatsapp started.
Her username on PubG was ‘Sathi_Meena’ and his ‘Seema_Sachin’.
In December 2022, Seema’s father died. “I wanted to meet and comfort her,” said Sachin. This ignited fire in him to meet her as she would cry inconsolably on the phone. Drawing inspiration from the film Gadar: Ek Prem Katha (2001), Seema applied for an Indian visa in February 2023. The plan went kaput when she realized documents required the signature of a gazetted officer which would draw attention, so she had to drop this plan and instead decided on meeting Sachin in Nepal.
On March 8, 2023, Sachin took a bus from the Kashmere Gate ISBT to Kathmandu on a 30-hr journey for ₹2,500, while Seema took a flight to Kathmandu via Sharjah. By March 10, for the first time they were both in the same city, Kathmandu. They watched the film Gadar together and on March 11, got married at Pashupatinath Temple with Hindu rituals.
For a week, they stayed in Kathmandu like a married couple,“I could not wait to be in India and be with Sachin forever,” she said.
On returning to Karachi, a determined Seema hired a travel agent, sold her husband’s house and bought 4 tickets to Kathmandu via UAE again.
On May 10, she left her Karachi home, took a flight from the Jinnah International Airport to Kathmandu from where she took a van to Pokhara, and then a bus to Delhi.
She had practiced enough of her new name Seema and her children’s Hindu names — Raj, Priyanka, Pari, and Munni. “I told the conductor that my husband is a Thakur and I am Thakurain,” she said. Travelling from Kashmere Gate to Jewar in a bus, she met Sachin at the Faleda crossing in Rabupura.
In Rabupura, Sachin hired a room on rent for ₹2,500 a month, in Ambedkar Nagar colony, near his family home. The hesitant landlord Giresh Singh was not ready, but somehow gave in, not knowing at this point of time that Sachin was shifting in with his Pakistani wife.
A month-and-a-half went by in peace. Now, Seema wanted to get her children enrolled in school for which an “Indian identity” like a birth certificate was needed.
On June 29, the couple went to an advocate in Bulandshahr. But on seeing her Pakistani passport, he grew suspicious and informed the police.
Sachin’s friend meanwhile tipped him about the development and he fled along with his new family on a bus, but were apprehended by the police at Balabgarh.
Then they landed in the jail along with Sachin’s father.
Saad Miyan Khan, deputy commissioner of police (Greater Noida) said that investigations thus far had not revealed anything that suggest espionage, but added that no “clean chit” could be given.
The Rabupura residents have accepted the Pakistani bahu, but back home in Karachi, people are baying for her blood. She does not want to go back and said “will do as the government wants”. Everybody in Rabupura have their fingers crossed for now.