I went directly to the home of my wife in Damik. When I entered the house, I was warmly greeted by her two identical twin brothers, Wazir and Nisar, who both shook my hand. I was invited to spend the night there. During the night, the mother of my wife sent a messenger to the home of Aziz-ur-Rehman in Drosh, three miles away, informing him of my presence in the home and demanding that he come to Damik and settle any disputes he had with me. Three times over the next day, the mother of Honzagool sent messengers to Aziz-ur-Rehman, demanding that he come. He never came. Instead, he sent a messenger to the police station. He asked the police to go to Damik to arrest me. He then ran away to Chitral Proper and disappeared for three days, while the police were searching for him.
The police came to Damik. By the time of their arrival, I had spent three days and two nights in the home of my wife, Honzagool. I knew the police officers from previous visits to Chitral. They did not arrest me. However, they insisted that I immediately go to Chitral Proper for the mandatory required police registration of all foreigners in Chitral. I did as told.
The next day, I arrived in Chitral Proper. I registered with the police, spoke with the Assistant Superintendent of Police, spoke with the Superintendent of Police, spoke with the Extra-Assistant Commissioner of Chitral, spoke with the Assistant Commissioner of Chitral, and spoke with the Deputy Commissioner of Chitral, all in the same day.
All of these officials agreed that I had every right to be in Chitral and that I had a right to go back to Damik and stay with my wife, Honzagool.
I went back to my wife's house in Damik. However, the house was deserted. Nobody was there. However, this was Eid day. I was told by a neighbor that they had gone to visit a relative for Eid. I then went to spend the night in the home of Prince Siraj-ud-Din in Village Naghar.
The next day, I went to see Prince Mohay-ud-Din, the District Council Chairman of Chitral and later the Minister of State of Pakistan. Prince Mohay-ud-Din agreed that I had the right to stay with my wife and offered to intercede in my behalf. Prince Mohay-ud-Din lives in Village Kalkatak, which is directly across the river from the home of my wife, Honzagool. They can actually see each other across the river. However, by road it is seven miles across difficult terrain, because these is no bridge at Kalkatak. One needs either to go down the river to Naghar or up the river to Drosh. It is considered impossible to cross the Chitral River directly. Nobody tries to do that, as many have died that way.
I spend the night in the home of Prince Mohay-ud-Din. I then went to see Colonel Murad, the Commander of the Drosh Fort. I then went by walking back to the house of Honzagool. However, after my arrival in the house, a neighbor lady, the wife of Khan Syed, the uncle of Honzagool (now deceased) put her head over the wall which separates the two houses and said, in the Khowar language, "Go Away to Drosh. Don't stay here. It's dangerous here. Get going!!"
It is rare in Chitral that a woman speaks to a man in such a direct way, so I decided that I had better follow her advice. I went to Drosh. I later found out that the reason was that Aziz-ur-Rehman, who all this time had been hiding and evading the police, had sent a telegram to Raja Ehsan Aziz in Rawalpindi informing him of my presence in Chitral and telling him to come right away to Chitral.
Raja Ehsan Aziz had in fact just arrived in Chitral (where he had apparently never been before) and for this reason I was in danger.
Raja Ehsan Aziz was the man who had first become involved in this case in March 1982, in New York City. At that time, there was a case pending in the Bronx Supreme Court involving my wife. Although my wife could speak English, the court wanted a translator for her and sent a request to Columbia University to provide a Khowar translator. Raja Ehsan Aziz, who was a graduate student in political science at Columbia University, applied for the job, claiming to be able to speak Khowar, even though he actually did not know even one word of that language. (He perhaps thought that it was similar to Punjabi, which he could speak).
Raja Ehsan Aziz came to the court and found out about my wife for the first time. Although he was not able to communicate with her, he decided to form a political action group supposedly to advocate her cause, and to solicit financial contributions for this purpose. Raja Ehsan Aziz was a member of the Jamaat-e-Islami political party in Pakistan. Through his connections in that party, he was able quickly to put a political committee together. His headquarters were in mosques in Teaneck and Jersey City, New Jersey. (Coincidentally, one of these was the same mosque where years later Shaikh Omar was accused of plotting to blow up the World Trade Center.) At the Darul Islah Masjid at 320 Fabry Terrace, Teaneck, NJ 07666, Raja Ehsan Aziz established the so-called "Honzagool Defense Fund" and, it has been estimated, collected over $100,000 in financial contributions made in her name.
Raja Ehsan Aziz succeeded in having front page articles published in the New York Daily News and the New York Post and in all of the newspapers of Pakistan. The main article, which was in the New York Daily News, was published on March 26, 1982. The long articles published in Pakistan were written in Urdu by his wife, Amera Ehsan Aziz. It was useful to have a woman's name appear as the author of these articles, so that Raja's personal designs on my wife would be concealed.
While this was going on, I wrote letters to several prominent persons in Chitral who were relatives on my wife (who is a member of the Royal Family of Chitral) asking them to send somebody over to rescue this situation. Prince Khushwakht-ul-Mulk, who was also an official of the UN High Commission on Refugees, agreed to send his son, Prince Siraj-ul-Mulk, who was a pilot with Pakistan International Airlines. Prince Siraj arrived and contacted me. I went to New York to meet him at the Hilton Hotel and took him to the house in Long Island, New York where I had been able to determine that they were holding my wife. With this information, Prince Siraj was able to meet my wife. My wife immediately asked him to take her back to Chitral, which he did. I purchased the airplane ticket from High Land Travel (a Pakistani Travel Agency) and gave it to Prince Siraj, which enabled him to take my wife back to Chitral. They departed on August 18, 1982.
Getting back to my arrival in Chitral in September 1983, more than one year later, after my arrival, the same Raja Ehsan Aziz came to Chitral. He went to the home of my wife in Damik and spent a few hours there. He apparently met her brothers. Because of the purdah system, it is not known whether he actually met my wife or not. He stayed there only a few hours. He went back to Chitral (a distance of 30 miles from Damik). He went to the Bar Association of Chitral and met with almost all of the lawyers there, trying to interest them in his case. The lawyers he met included Abdul Wali Khan, Barq Ahmed, Mohammad Dost, Salah-ud-Din Ayubi and Wali-ur-Rehman. None of the lawyers there had any interest in his case. He also met with Mian Hafiz-ur-Rehman, the Extra-Assistant of Chitral, and tried to file a complaint against me with him, but the Extra Assistant of Chitral told him that he was busy with other cases and to come back in a month. Raja Ehsan Aziz caught the next flight out early the next morning, having spent only one night in Chitral.
In view of the rapid departure of Raja Ehsan Aziz from Chitral, every one but me believed that the matter was concluded and that soon I would be able to take my wife back to America without further incident. However, I knew better than they the resourcefulness and deviousness of Raja Ehsan Aziz, who by then had set up an organization in Rawalpindi called the Afghan Press Agency. Through this agency, he started getting reports published in the press. More than 100 articles eventually appeared. The first article, which published in an English Language Newspaper in Islamabad, was entitled "Chitral Officials in League with Sloan." A similar article appeared the next day, plus there were similar articles in the Urdu language press, including the Daily Nawa-i-Waqt, the Daily Jang and especially the Daily Jasarat in Karachi.
These articles alleged that all of the top officials of Chitral with whom I had met, namely the Deputy Commissioner of Chitral, the Assistant Commissioner of Chitral, the Extra-Assistant Commissioner of Chitral and so on down were corrupt officials who, due probably to bribery and corruption, were not putting me in jail but were allowing me to stay in the home of my wife. The articles also made strange, outrageous and unbelievable claims about me. They said that I had gotten into my wife's house by climbing the wall in the middle of the night. They said that I had arrived in Pakistan illegally by crossing Durah, a high mountain pass from Badakhshan in Afghanistan, on foot. They said that I had met with top commanders of the Afghan mujahidin who were fighting the war in Afghanistan. These top commanders, according to the articles, had come to me for advice on how to conduct their war.
Raja Ehsan Aziz may have believed that some of this was true. He personally had asked that orders be placed at all of the airports in Pakistan that I not be allowed to enter the country. However, I had flown to Pakistan from Paris in the jump seat of a PIA DC-10 piloted by none other than Prince Siraj-ul-Mulk, the second cousin, two generations removed, of my wife, Honzagool. In addition, I had entered Chitral by mountain on foot without registering at the checkpost at Ashret, so there was no record of how I got there. I had, in fact, been introduced to two top commanders of the mujahidin by a newspaper reporter named Maulana Mohammed Afzal, but I have never denied that I maintained close connections with the Afghan freedom fighters since 1978. On the other hand, I have no military training, I have never fired a weapon in my life, I know nothing about how to conduct a war and I certainly have never advised anyone on how to do it. None of the newspapers in Peshawar or in any of the tribal areas carried this story. Every newspaper which carried this story was connected with Raja Ehsan Aziz.
Although I read the articles and I knew that trouble was brewing, there was nothing for me to do because I needed to get my wife back and to take her to America to take care of our daughter, Shamema. I was walking in the Chitral Bazaar on the day that the second article appeared when the police came to pick me up. I was taken to Chitral Jail. There were no charges. I was being held under MPO 4. This meant "Maintenance of Public Order Section 4". It is under this section that big political officials are detained in Pakistan. People like the well known separatist Abdul Wali Khan (who is not to be confused with the lawyer in Chitral by the same name) and Benazir Bhutto are held under MPO 4.
I later found out the reason for this development. After the second newspaper article appeared, General Zia-ul-Haq, the President of Pakistan, had personally called the Deputy Commissioner of Chitral to find out what was going on. The DC told him that there was nothing going on. I was legally in Pakistan, all of my papers were in order and I certainly had committed no crime in Pakistan, so there was no grounds to arrest me or to hold me for any reason.
Nevertheless, it happened that General Faiz-ul-Haq, the Governor of the Northwest Frontier Province, was due to come to Chitral the next day. It was decided to arrest me just to avoid embarrassment to the Governor.
I was held in Chitral Jail for a total of four days. When the Governor came, he expressed great interest in the case of me and my wife Honzagool and kept bringing it up, while the local officials kept trying to change the subject. He directed them to settle this matter right away and to bring about a reconciliation between husband and wife, especially because a child was involved. This fact was reported in the newspapers in Peshawar.
The day that Governor Faiz-ul-Haq left, Prince Mohay-ud-Din came to Chitral Jail in his UN High Commission on Refugees jeep and took me to the office of the Deputy Commissioner of Chitral. A meeting was assembled. Present were Honzagool, who was in purdah wearing a veil until I told her to take that stupid thing off, the Assistant Commissioner of Chitral, Prince Mohay-ud-Din and me. (The Deputy Commissioner was sick in bed that day.) This meeting occurred on October 8, 1983.
After a long discussion, an agreement was made between me and Honzagool. The agreement was written out by hand by the Assistant Commissioner of Chitral for our signatures. However, I insisted that it be typed on the ground that this agreement might have to be presented to a court, including the courts of America, at a later date. The agreement was sent to the typist.
While we were waiting for the typist to type the agreement, Colonel Murad broke into the meeting. He had nothing to contribute but, as he was the top military commander in Chitral, no door could be denied to him. Right after him, however, came three most unwelcome intruders. These were Nazir Ahmed, the somewhat mentally retarded eldest brother of my wife who has always been under the complete domination and control of Aziz-ur-Rehman, plus two second cousins of my wife from Village Singur, near the Power Station. One of the two brothers started shouting at Prince Mohay-ud-Din (extremely surprising behavior) while the other brother grabbed Honzagool by the arm, threw the veil back over her head to hide her face, and forcibly dragged her out the front door. It was all over in a matter of seconds. Honzagool was gone. I never saw my wife again.
I was taken back to Chitral Jail. I was released from jail the next day and taken to the house of the Deputy Commissioner. The DC and the AC were both present. They presented me with an airline ticket out of Chitral. They told me that they were releasing me because they had nothing to hold me for. However, as a favor to them, they asked me to leave Chitral for the time being and not to come back until things had cooled down. They said that if I came back at a time when this matter was no longer hot in the press, I would be allowed quietly to take my wife back to America.
I protested on the grounds that Aziz-ur-Rehman had filed a divorce case against me and I knew for a fact that the plan was to divorce my wife from me and then to marry her to Raja Ehsan Aziz or to a member of his group somewhere in Punjab. They told me that this divorce case was not going to be allowed to succeed. It was going to be placed permanently on the back burner. The case was going to be transferred to a higher court in Swat and the judge in Swat was not going to be much interested in this case.
In addition, Prince Mohay-ud-Din later personally promised me that my wife would wait for me in Chitral. He said that he would not allow her to be taken out of Chitral and that he would never allow her to be married to another man. Prince Mohay-ud-Din gave me this as his personal guarantee.
I accepted these guarantees and caught the flight to Peshawar, after almost missing the flight because I stopped at a bookstore near Chitral Fort to collect the royalties on my book, Khowar English Dictionary, which was being sold in the store. I got to the airport late but they took another passenger off the plane to make room for me.
I stayed in Peshawar for about a month. Every night, I slept in a different bed. I never stayed in a hotel. I always stayed with my Chitrali friends, the relatives of my wife. Some were students at Peshawar University and I stayed in their dormitory rooms in University Town. Other nights, I slept in various rooms in the Chitrali Bazaar, which is in the Qissa Khani Bazaar in the Old City of Peshawar. My friends who shielded me included Abdul Samad, now a prominent engineer, Mohammed Nadir, a government contractor, Sher Nawaz Khan, a newspaper writer, and Salah-ud-Din Ayubi, now a top official of the Aga Khan Foundation in Chitral.
Since I never stayed twice in the same place, I often heard that just after I had left the police or somebody else came looking for me. However, as I wore Afghan clothing and spoke the Afghan language, never speaking a word of English in public, it was impossible for anybody except those who knew me to distinguish me from a million Afghan refugees.
Finally, word came to me from a close Chitrali friend that Raja Ehsan Aziz was planing to kill me. Raja realized that I could evade the police forever, but he was going to launch a serious attack from Rawalpindi. My friend told me that my Chitrali friends were prepared to defend me, but were not certain that they would be able to do so.
At this point, I decided that this would be an excellent time to leave Pakistan.
Raja Ehsan Aziz had written in the newspapers that all the airports had been placed on a lookout for me and that there was no way for me to get out of the country. However, there was still one legal route left (not counting a thousand miles of tribal territory along the border with Afghanistan, since I was not willing to rejoin that war). I took the train from Lahore, Pakistan to Amritsar, India. The train stopped at the border and of all the passengers got out. I cleared immigration routinely. None of the inspectors made any note of who I was. The last official on the Pakistan side was a customs inspector who checked my suitcase. He was mostly stopping small time smugglers from Nigeria who were buying used clothing in Pakistan and selling it in India. When he checked my suitcase, he saw a bunch of newspaper articles with my picture in them. He said, "Are you that person?" and then waived me on. As the stamp on my passport shows, I left Pakistan on 28 November 1983.
I went to see the Golden Temple in Amritsar. I walked everywhere in, through, and all around it. No door was closed inside. I then went to Delhi.
It was good that I crossed when I did because, only a few months later, Indra Gandhi ordered her raid on the Golden Temple, in which many people were killed, including no doubt some of the people I saw when I was there. That area and the border with Pakistan were then closed to foreigners. I had nothing to do with that, by the way.
In March, 1984, Mian Hafiz-ur-Rehman, the Extra-Assistant Commissioner of Chitral, was found murdered. His head had been chopped open with a hatchet. His dead body had been thrown in the Chitral River. His dead body was found in Singur, near the Power Station and less than 500 yards from the house of the two brothers who, on October 8, 1983, had broken into the meeting between myself, my wife, and Prince Mohay-ud-Din, and who had grabbed my wife by the arm and dragged her out the door. However, those two brothers have never been investigated for this crime. Instead, a petrol pump operator in Village Jughur near the bridge was arrested. It was claimed that he had been involved in a love triangle with the Extra-Assistant Commissioner, and that they both had loved the same woman. This seemed unlikely, as the Extra-Assistant Commissioner had, in June, 1983, first arrived in Chitral from a tribal area near Kohat, and had no prior relations with Chitral. It is customary in Pakistan for judges to be assigned to a district far from where they live so that they will not have relations with the local people and not be biased in one way or the other. Eventually, the petrol pump operator was acquitted and the charges dropped. The murder remains officially unsolved. The fact that Mian Hafiz-ur-Rehman had been repeatedly attacked and maligned in dozens of newspaper articles published by Raja Ehsan Aziz throughout the months of September through December, 1983 has never been connected with this crime.
If those two brothers murdered the Extra-Assistant Commissioner (and I believe that they did) they were greatly mistaken. He had already disqualified himself from this case because of the newspaper articles attacking him and had nothing more to do with this matter.
From the 1985 order of the court which I first obtained in 1989, it is apparent what happened after I left Pakistan. Raja Ehsan Aziz, realizing that he could never win a case in Chitral where I had good relations with the people there and where they considered me to be one of them, filed a case for the divorce of my wife in his own home town of Rawalpindi, where he had relationships with the judges in the courts. I doubt if he ever made the judges aware that a similar prior case had been filed and was still pending in Chitral. Court records show that the only witness who appeared in the case was Raja Ehsan Aziz himself. He claimed to have been a personal witness to the proceedings in America, although he had never personally known my wife there, and certainly not during the period we were living together, and had only gotten into this case as a result of being hired as a "Khowar translator" even though he could not speak that language. On the basis of his testimony alone, the judge granted the divorce "ex-party".
In addition, I had stated in a newspaper article by Maulana Mohammed Afzal which had been published in the Daily Jang that Raja Ehsan Aziz wanted my wife divorced from me because he was planning to marry my wife himself. Raja Ehsan Aziz vehemently protested this, saying that he already had a wife, Amera Ehsan Aziz, the lady who actually wrote most of the newspaper articles about this case. Accordingly, after obtaining the ex-party divorce of my wife, Raja married her to his cousin/brother, Raja Abdul Rashid, a lawyer practicing before the Rawalpindi High Court, who was also the lawyer who pleaded the case and obtained the ex-party divorce of my wife from me. Raja Abdul Rashid also had at least one other wife. On the same day as the ex-party divorce decree, Honzagool was brought from Chitral and married to Raja Abdul Rashid.
I believe the divorce by Honzagool from me to be void and that she is still legally my wife. In the first place, the Rawalpindi Family Court obviously had no jurisdiction over this matter. Honzagool never lived in Rawalpindi. She lived in Chitral or in America. The address provided in the divorce decree of 100 Harley Street, Rawalpindi is false. I have been to that address. It is a commercial glass factory. Nobody lives there. It is the headquarters of the Khwaja Glass Factory, Ltd. The name given in the divorce pleadings of Pak-Anjuman-e-Khawteen-e-Islam is an organization which translates as "Woman's Islamic Welfare Society of Pakistan." The members of that organization are the wives of prominent political personalities in Pakistan. Amera Ehsan Aziz, the wife of Raja Ehsan Aziz, was involved with this group. Raja Ehsan Aziz approached many Chitralis, trying to get them to have their wives join this organization. He wanted to add legitimacy to the claim to have a right to be involved in the case of Honzagool. All of the women from Chitral refused to join.
I married Honzagool in her home in Chitral and took her to America. We never lived in Rawalpindi. Even in America, one must bring a divorce suit in the jurisdiction where the husband and wife lived together. The wife or husband cannot run away to a remote jurisdiction and secretly file a suit for divorce there. Moreover, had this case been tried either in New York or in Chitral I could have called over a dozen witnesses in each place who could have testified that they visited me and my wife while we were living together in our homes and that she seemed happy and had no problems or complaints. Several Chitralis who knew us in New York had by then returned to Pakistan. All of them would have testified in my favor. More than that, her own villagers in Damik were saying that she wanted to return to America and to live with me as my wife again, but that she was being prevented from doing so. However, no such witnesses would have been available in Rawalpindi, because we never lived there.
In addition, the grounds of Khula as set forth in the divorce decree simply does not exist in that form in Islamic law. The theory propounded by Raja Ehsan Aziz was that a wife can divorce her husband at any time just by agreeing to forego any payment of money, just as a man can divorce his wife at any time. However, nowhere in Islamic law or in Islamic jurisprudence does support for such a theory exits.
Furthermore, Raja Ehsan Aziz himself had stated that he had placed orders at all the airports in Pakistan that I not be allowed to enter the country. Thus, he was preventing me from attending any court case that he might file. Furthermore, I had it on authority which I considered to be reliable that he was planning to have me killed if I succeeded in slipping into Pakistan again. In fact, I had a plan. I was waiting for the War in Afghanistan to stop. Then, I was going to cross a high mountain pass from Nuristan, because the house of my wife, Honzagool, is less than eight miles from the border and is right at the foot of Jinjoret Kuh, which goes to a mountain pass leading from Pakistan to Afghanistan. The Afghans freedom fighters used this pass throughout the war. Ahmed Shah Masood crossed this pass frequently. The Soviets dropped cluster bombs and land mines all over this pass, but were never able to close it because it is 14000 feet high. However, with the war still going on hot and heavy, this route was not available to me.
The fact that they had previously filed a divorce case in Chitral was not disclosed to the judge in Rawalpindi. Court records show the date of filing in Rawalpindi Family Court to be 7 April 1984. This was one month after Mian Hafiz-ur-Rehman, the judge on the case in Chitral, was murdered. Presumably they felt that, having murdered the judge (as I have little doubt that they did) they were free to file a new case elsewhere. It is noteworthy that the two brothers, who I believe murdered the judge in Village Singur, had a third cousin/brother in Village Jughur who was a teacher and who was militantly involved in this case. One of the three of them was named Sultan Murad. I wonder if that third brother is not the one who made the false complaint against the petrol pump operator in Jughur and got him arrested for this crime. Surprisingly, none of the newspapers in Pakistan which reported on the murder of Mian Hafiz-ur-Rehman noted that he had been the judge in the Honzagool case.
The Law of the Koran requires that a man be given the opportunity to take back his wife. In my case, on May 20, 1981 at about 6:00 AM, Aziz-ur-Rehman came to our home while I was sleeping and took my wife from there. From that day to this, I have made every effort humanly possible to recover my wife. There is no doubt that it was Aziz-ur-Rehman who was behind having my wife taken to Rawalpindi to be "married" to Raja Abdul Rashid and very little doubt that Aziz-ur-Rehman was paid a considerable sum of money for this. When I first met Aziz-ur-Rehman in February, 1980, he was a poor man making a salary of 300 rupees per month. He has since become one of the richest men in Drosh, from the profits he has gained from the Honzagool case.
Finally, the purported marriage between Honzagool and Raja Abdul Rashid is null and void because Raja Abdul Rashid, who pleaded the case for divorce, "married" my wife on the same day that he obtained this "divorce", without waiting the three months period of Iddat as required by Islamic law. Since he obviously feels that none of the other laws of Islam apply to this case, he probably claims that this law does not apply as well. There is proof that the period of Iddat was not observed, because Honzagool gave birth to a child named Khaider just nine months after this so-called "divorce".
As far as I am concerned, Honzagool is still my wife. We have a daughter in America. I still plan to come and take her some day.
Mohammad Ismail Sloan
For my letter to the brother of Aziz-ur-Rehman, see: Letter to Amin-ur-Rehman .
For the letter to the EAC of Chitral, see: Letter to the EAC of Chitral, who was later found murdered .
For the letter from the EAC of Chitral, see: Letter from the EAC of Chitral .
For a newspapar article attacking that judge, see: Urdu Daily Jasarat article attacking the EAC of Chitral, who was later found murdered .
More than 100 articles have appeared about this in the newspapers of Pakistan. The Pakistan press refused to publish my side of the story and continues to refuse to do so to this day. For a typical example of one of those articles, see: Daily Nawa-i-Waqt for 6 October 1983 . For my reply to a person named Zaman who challenged me on this, see: Reply to Zaman .
For a photo of Honzagool being prepared for marriage to me, see: Preparations for Marriage .For two other photos of Honzagool, see: Honzagool . For a photo of the family of Honzagool, see: Family of Honzagool in Chitral, Pakistan . For a photo of me and of our daughter Shamema, see: Shamema .