ISLAMABAD-The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Friday directed the Secretary Ministry of Interior to provide travel document for one time to an Azerbaijan woman who was illegally trafficked to Pakistan for prostitution.

A single bench of IHC comprising Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani conducted hearing of the petition of Jameela Nizami daughter of Nizami and resident of Baku, Azerbaijan, currently residing at Edhi Home, Islamabad. The bench also directed the interior ministry to give No Objection Certificate (NOC) to the victim so that she could return home in Azerbaijan.

During the hearing, a representative of Edhi Foundation appeared before the court and informed the court that Faisal Edhi has expressed his willingness to bear the expenses of Jameela’s air travel.

At this, the court directed him to submit photocopy of the air-ticket with the court and deferred the hearing till October 19 for further proceedings. The petitioner filed the petition through her counsels Zia Ahmad Awan Advocate and Asma Mushtaq Advocate and cited Secretaries of Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Human Rights as respondents.

The IHC bench also directed the Additional Director Legal Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and Director Foreign Office to submit reply in this matter before the next hearing and adjourned the proceedings till October 9.

The petitioner stated she is a citizen of the Republic of Azerbaijan and is residing at present in a shelter home under the care and administration of Edhi Welfare Trust. She told that in 2011, she was trafficked from Baku, by an Azerbaijani woman namely Ibrahimova Lali to Islamabad under the pretext of marriage with a Pakistani man.

Jameela stated that in Islamabad, Lali handed over the petitioner to one lady namely Zareefay who confiscated the travel documents of the petitioner and took her to a brothel for prostitution and thereafter the petitioner was compelled to remain there for about 3 years under strict supervision and command. She further said that after three years, the petitioner was sold for Rs 1,00,000/- to an Azerbaijani woman, namely Beeka who was running a brothel in Karachi.

She said that husband of Beeka namely Asif is a Pakistani citizen permanently residing in Karachi and as per information, he is a drug supplier particularly, ice supplier. The petitioner also told that in 2019, the petitioner managed to escape from the clutches of the brothel owners with the help of a friend.

The petitioner adopted that Edhi Welfare Home contacted the offices of Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs for assistance, however, the respondent has declined to release the petitioner until she pays a hefty fine for illegal stay in Pakistan despite the fact that she was a victim of trafficking who was compelled to stay in Pakistan by her traffickers.

She contended that the petitioner was exploited by human traffickers and their agents involved in the shameful profession of prostitution due to which the petitioner as well as her family members have been suffering from mental agony since 2011 and such situation is still continuing.

Therefore, Jameela prayed to the court to declare that the petitioner was illegally brought to Pakistan by the human traffickers and thereafter has been exploited at the hands of agents of said human traffickers and as such she is entitled to be repatriated back to her country on sole expenses and arrangements of respondents.

She requested the court to direct the respondents to ensure the registration of all missing/ trafficked persons and take immediate action for repatriation of the petitioner and direct the respondents to conduct a comprehensive inquiry into the human trafficking of the petitioner from Azerbaijan to Pakistan and further direct the said respondents to take stern action according to the trafficking laws against those involved in the incident.