A Hindu woman who was alleged to have been kidnapped and forcefully converted, has told a Pakistan court that she embraced Islam without any coercion and married a Muslim man out of her own free will.
Lata Kumari, who was allegedly abducted from the Defence area of Karachi on February 2, recorded her statement before Judicial Magistrate Hatim Aziz Solangi yesterday.
Last week, the Supreme Court had directed authorities to produce three women, including Lata, who were allegedly kidnapped or forcibly taken away in Sindh province, by March 26.
During her appearance in court yesterday, the woman testified that her former name was Lata Kumari and that she had changed it to Hafsa after embracing Islam.
She further said she married Nadir Baig, an engineer, of her own free will under Islamic laws.
Lata said a case filed against her husband regarding her kidnapping was "baseless".
The magistrate recorded the woman's statement in the presence of her husband.
Earlier, when the investigation officer produced the woman in court, a lawyer who said he was her counsel requested the magistrate to defer the matter.
Another lawyer, who was representing Baig, claimed that he too was the counsel for the woman and asked the court to record her statement.
The woman too said the second lawyer was representing her and the court recorded her testimony after completing certain legal formalities.
The magistrate directed Baig to cooperate with police after the investigation officer complained he was not cooperating after obtaining pre-arrest bail.
A case of kidnapping was registered against Baig under the Pakistan Penal Code following a complaint from the woman's father, Ramesh Kumar.
Rinkle Kumari, another Hindu girl whose production was sought by the apex court, yesterday told the Sindh High Court that she too had voluntarily converted and married a Muslim man.
The High Court directed police to place her in a state-run women's home till she is produced in the apex court on March 26.
Sindh and Balochistan provinces have sizeable Hindu populations.
Hindus account for less than three per cent of Pakistan's population of 180 million.