From tying knot in Nepal to landing in jail: Pakistani woman’s journey to meet lover in India

Seema Haider, who entered India with her four children, says she would rather die than return or leave Sachin Meena, whom she met while playing an online game


Trends Desk

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Top Stories

Seema Haider speaks with media representatives at the residence she shares with her partner Sachin Meena in Rabupura village. — AFP
Seema Haider speaks with media representatives at the residence she shares with her partner Sachin Meena in Rabupura village. — AFP

Published: Sat 15 Jul 2023, 6:57 PM

Last updated: Tue 18 Jul 2023, 2:31 PM

A Pakistani woman who sneaked into India to be with the man she met while playing an online game has requested that she be granted Indian citizenship, but her estranged husband has appealed to both countries to reunite him with his wife.

An intriguing tale of passion that also features allegations of espionage and legal hurdles, the love story of Pakistan’s Seema Haider, 27, and India’s Sachin Meena, 22, is creating global headlines.

Seema, who entered India with her four children, has said she would “rather die than return or leave Sachin”, an unmarried shopkeeping assistant from a village named Rabupura, about 55 kilometres from the Indian capital of New Delhi.

"I request the Indian government to grant me citizenship," Seema told AFP.

But Ghulam Haider, Seema’s estranged husband who is in Saudi Arabia, told the agency that they have a defiant love story of their own.

From different Baloch tribes, the couple was forbidden by their families from marrying. They ran away and later a “jigra” (council of elders) was called to settle the matter.

"I am far from my home, from my family, and it is very agonising for me because we married out of love," Haider, who left his job as a labourer and rickshaw driver to earn more money in the Gulf, told AFP by phone. "I earnestly appeal to Indian and Pakistani authorities to bring my wife and children back to me."

According to ANI, Seema had said that her “former” husband had no need for her earlier and “neither does he need me now”. Other reports have quoted Seema as saying that her husband was abusive — a charge he has denied.

Meticulous planning

Seema met Sachin while playing online shooting game during the 2020 Covid-19 lockdown, according to media reports quoting officials. Soon, they fell for each other — and this March, they got married at a temple in Nepal. They spent a few days in Kathmandu before returning to their home countries.

But it was just the beginning. Upon her return to Pakistan, Seema arranged flight tickets and a Nepal visa for herself and her children. She even sold a plot for 1.2 million Pakistani rupees (Dh16,096 approximately) to arrange the money, according to India’s NDTV.


The couple said it took months of meticulous planning with help from YouTube videos on how to enter India via Nepal, according to the AFP report cited in the first instance.

In May, Seema flew to Nepal and stayed in Pokhara for some time, before taking a bus to Delhi from Kathmandu. The woman and her children (all younger than seven) managed to reach Greater Noida in India’s Uttar Pradesh state on May 13. Sachin received them and they stayed at a rented place not very far from his house.

But Indian police was tipped off Seema’s arrival without a visa. The couple went on the run, and was arrested from Ballabhgarh in Faridabad district of the Haryana state. Sachin’s father, Netrapal Singh, too was held for sheltering Seema.

Indian police said Seema was a native of Pakistan’s Sindh, and had been residing in Karachi. They said they had found her Pakistani passport and citizenship card, as well as the birth certificates of Seema and her children.

A court granted them bail, noting that Seema did not enter “the borders of India with any wrong intention”, even as there were wild speculations in some quarters that the woman was a Pakistani spy.

'I would like to stay in India'

Seema has urged the Indian government to let her stay back with Sachin. Seema and her children are living in Sachin’s two-room house in Greater Noida.

"I would like to stay in India. I am his wife. I want to stay with Sachin here and will. If they kill me here, so be it. I will take my last breath here,” she told the media.

Sachin has said his family has accepted Seema despite initial resistance and that he will do everything for the love of his life and her children.

Sachin’s father has told The Indian Express that they don’t want Seema to return to Pakistan, claiming that she will not be safe there. He also urged the Indian government to support the couple and Seema’s children.

Legal tangle

Indian police, however, insist that Seema's long-term stay will be impossible.

According to a report in India Today, Seema is an "illegal migrant" as per the Indian law. Her arrest was made under the Foreigners Act and Section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.

"An illegal migrant is a foreigner who either enters the country without valid travel documents, like a passport and visa, or enters the country with valid documents, but stays beyond the permitted time period. Illegal migrants are prohibited from acquiring Indian citizenship," according to the report.

Illegal migrants may be imprisoned or deported under the Foreigners Act and the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920, it added. These legislations empower the federal authorities to regulate the entry, exit and stay of foreigners. However, actions may vary depending on the circumstances.

More news from World
Mapping the future of ESG at COP28


Mapping the future of ESG at COP28

As the global race to achieve net-zero emissions intensifies, firms looking to form new alliances and partnerships must be able to outline their ESG strategy and, crucially, explain how they plan to execute it