How My Daughter, Shamema Honzagool Sloan, came to be Kidnapped

Thank you so much for your letter. I will try briefly to answer your points, because to answer in detail would require another book:

At 08:46 AM 1/27/2001 -0000, azam chitrali wrote: >23/01/2001 > >Hi Mr. Sloan > >I hope you are fine. A few weeks ago I got to visit your website and read >all the story you have mentioned about your wife "Hunzagul" and your >daughter. Being a Chitrali, I found lot of interest in this story and >studied all of its passage carefully. I have sympathy with you as a husband >of an innocent and ignorant wife and a father of a little girl when she was >kidnapped. As a citizen of Chitral I understand the factors deeply in this >matter. I am agreed that the matter was politicized by some of the religious >groups but they do not actually belong to Chitral and there could be >political motive behind all that.

Yes. You are right. When the case was in court in New York, between 50 and 100 people came to the court every day, which is extremely unusual. I later discovered that these people were all members of Jamaat-e-Islami and that organization was collecting these people and bringing them in cars to the court to impress the judge.

Needless to say, none of these people were Chitrali. Aziz never came to the court because he had jumped bail and there was a warrant for his arrest. However, Aziz is a member of Jamaat-e-Islami and it was partially but not entirely due to him that they became involved. > Therefore you might have been deprived of >due justice because of the political and social pressure in Pakistan. But as >you have mentioned that the case was also taken up to the court in United >States too. United States of America is your native country and has a >popular justice system. You must have contested in the court in US, but you >haven't mentioned about the court decree. I don't think Mr. Aziz could be so >effective in the US and that is the point I can't agree with you.

You fail to understand that I did not lose the case in New York. I realize that the press in Pakistan has said that I lost, but it is not true. They did get one ex-party order in their favor (ex-party means that the other party, me, was not notified, and I was not even in the USA at the time) but as soon as I heard about it, I petitioned for rehearing and that order was nullified. That was in 1983.

Eventually, the New York Court did give me legal custody of Shamema, so in the end I won the case. However, the main reason I won is that Honzagool had gone back to Pakistan and never returned. >You could >take this case up to Supreme Court of Pakistan to get a better and fair >judgment; if it was not possible at that time then there were three or four >democratic governments came into power after Zia Regime but you didn't go to >court and now you are appealing to General Pervez Musharraf to give justice. >I think the better way is the Supreme Court for you, if you still hope for >some kind justice. Otherwise forget it as a bad dream, nobody can do you >justice even the generals.

At this point, what I want to do is re-unite Shamema with her mother. My daughter Shamema is now in the United States Marines and is working in aircraft maintenance at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. I know that this sounds unbelievable that the daughter of a Chitrali girl is in the United States Military fixing aircraft. I would not believe it myself, had Shamema not told me this.

As far as a court case in Pakistan is concerned, my main issue there is that it was clearly illegal for a judge in Rawalpindi where neither Honzagool nor I had ever lived to issue a divorce decree just so that the lawyer presenting the case could marry her himself. This was an outrageous violation of Islamic law and the perpetrators should be punished, including the judge and the lawyers.

However, that will not accomplish my objective, which is to re-unite Shamema with her mother. It will help, however, because once the recalcitrants are in jail, it will be safer for Shamema or I to go to Pakistan and it will become possible for Honzagool to come to America to see her daughter.

When Shamema was younger, I was afraid to bring her to Pakistan for fear that they would grab her and force her into an early marriage. Now that she has been trained by the Marines in combat, they would not dare. I suspect that this may be one reason that she joined the Marines.

> >Secondly, I am surprised that how did you think to marry an illiterate girl >from the most remote area of the world while it was understood to you that >neither she could read nor write and even she couldn't speak your language >as well as you don't know her language. Her culture, religion, social values >are totally opposite to yours.

I now realize that this was a mistake. However, at the time it seemed like a good idea. Had I to live my life over again, I would not do it, but it is too late for that now.

>I am not surprised why did she agree to marry you? In this matter she is innocent.

What I believe is two things:

1. Honzagool wanted to go somewhere, anywhere out of her village. At the time I came along, there were negotiations underway to marry her to a man in Peshawar. However, that man already had a wife. He was stationed at the Habib Bank in Drosh. For that reason, when I came along, they decided that marrying her to me was a better deal.

2. I have been told that in her own village it was known that Honzagool had a difficult personality. She was feisty and unmanageable. None of the local boys wanted to marry her. For that reason a search was underway to find her a husband from outside the district. Of course, nobody had any idea that an American would come along. Since you know the customs, you know that already Honzagool was relatively old to be getting married. She was a few weeks short of turning 18, whereas in Chitral most girls get married when they are 14 or 15.

> As you have mentioned in your story >that you had given some money to Aziz for that marriage; but it was >publicized in the press as saying that "Chitralis sell their daughters for >few thousands of Rupees". I have personally faced this question many times.

The actual amount was 5000 rupees. Of that, about 3600 was used for the marriage party and the balance of 1400 was given to her mother.

I knew of course that this was an unusually small amount. However, in addition to this, I had to pay for the airplane ticket for both Honzagool and Aziz to fly to America. Altogether the marriage cost me about $4,000 (four thousand dollars).

>It's of course a disgrace for Chitrali people and I feel that you are also >responsible for this disgrace to us.

What caused the disgrace was that the story extensively appeared in the newspapers, especially in Pakistan. For that you can blame Aziz, who contacted Raja Ehsan Aziz and got him to publicize the case.

I never contacted any news reporters. I did not want the case to appear in the press. In reality, there was nothing about the case which warrented press coverage. I do know why the newspapers found the story so interesting. >As I told this story to some of my informed friends, they say that Mr. >Soloan is accused of having unnatural and un-Islamic sexual relations with >his wife (former) Hunzagul.

This is completely untrue. Nothing of the kind occurred. I am aware however that Raja Ehsan Aziz made this allegation. However, remember, he is not Chitrali and could not speak her language. He just wanted newspaper publicity for his own purposes. I am sure that she never said any such thing.

> If this accusation is true then I am not >surprised of the consequences, which you have faced. You didn't take your >wife into confidence and didn't provide her immediate education at least to >speak English and therefore, you kept yourself dependant on Aziz.

Not true. I enrolled Honzagool in English as A Second Language courses and she earned a certificate. I also hired a private tudor named Rachel Bruckman to teach her English. I spent about two thousand dollars on English lessons for Honzagool. Soon, she could speak English better than almost any Pakistani in America.

However, when the case went to court in 1982, in order to control what she said, they told her not to speak English. Then Raja Ehsan Aziz provided a translator who would say what he wanted her to say. Several times I heard her say something which was completely different than what the translator claimed that she had said.

As the last court hearing, they slipped up and she said something in English. Judge Mercorella was astonished to discover that she could actually speak English better than the supposed translator. He decided to dispense with the translator. However, not long thereafter she went back to Pakistan, never to return. >I am not agreed with you when you are talking about Aziz's activities in >United States and make trouble for you. I don't think an illiterate man who >belongs to remote area like Chitral, can make trouble for an American >citizen at the very door step of his home, in United States.

I think you should meet Aziz when you are next in Chitral. Everybody in Drosh and in his area realizes that he is the cause of the problem. Aziz is a big trouble maker in many ways besides this case.

However, the reason he could make trouble for me in America is that he was very threatening to Honzagool and she was afraid to disobey him.

>You are surely, >showing the people only one side of the picture while hiding away the other. >I have never seen Aziz or any other character in this story but I am >interested to see them and know the real picture.

Another person you should try to meet is Malik. Another Chitrali has met Malik recently there and wrote to me: "The only thing Malik knows how to do is how to make trouble"

Malik lives in Bronx New York but still goes to Chitral usually in Summer to try to start a fund to distribute money.

>Those people don't have >means like internet and others what you have, they cannot even respond to >these allegation, which you have made.

This is not entirely true. There are several people who have e-mail addresses in Chitral and I correspond with them.

>And another thing makes confusion is >your conversion of religion, are you still a Muslim or just you were >converted by words and formalities to get the beautiful girl married.

I converted to Islam in 1977 in Iran. I married Honzagool in 1980 in Pakistan. So, it is clear that I did not convert just to get married to Honzagool. I am still Muslim.

I did not know that Honzagool was beautiful. I never inquired about that. I did not especially want a beautiful wife. It was an accident that she turned out to be beautiful. I first found out that she was beautiful after I was already married to her. I still believe that if I had married an ugly girl like Sunik, the converted Kalash girl I was originally scheduled to marry, I would have had a happy, peaceful life because nobody would have wanted to take her away from me.

>You have never explained it in your story. The case of your daughter also tells >that there is something "inside story". In a civilized country like America >someone kidnaps a little girl and keeps her in an extremist religious school >for more than a decade, I am at least unable to accept this at all.

This is a mystery to me. It is obvious that my daughter was kidnapped by members of a fundamentalist Christian group. Anybody can see that. I cannot understand why these people have not been arrested and prosecuted.

One reason why I want Honzagool brought to America is I believe that her presence here will help get these people arrested and prosecuted. Shamema is in the United States Marines, and they have people in the Marines who are keeping watch on her.

>I am working in an Airline here in the Middle East and soon I am going on my >annual vacation. I am so much interested in this story and I would go to >meet those people whom you have postered as villains. This story has damaged >our local social values around the world and you are still publicizing this >story by internet. I hope you will show both the sides of the story and tell >the truth.

Remember that I am not the person who publicized this story. More than one hundred newspaper articles appeared about this case in 1982 and 1983 in Pakistan. Millions of people in Pakistan read this story. I was there and I went to the newspapers asking them to publish my side of the story, but they refused. A reported named Rizvi who was the head of the Peshawar Bureau of Jang wrote a very nice story favorable to me, but Jang refused to publish it. Rizvi died not long thereafter.

A reporter named Siddiqi wrote a story in my favor which was published in Dawn and he received threats as a result.

A judge named Mian Hafiz-ur-Rehman made a court ruling in my favor and was found murdered a few months later. I am using my web site to counter-balance the stories which have been written against me.

>I have still my sympathy with you besides the lack of facts in the story >unless I see the people there in Chitral and analyze it by myself. >Hope good luck for you. > >Yours truly, > >Noor Azam Khan >Saudi Arabian Airlines >Jeddah, Saudi Arabia > >Email: >

I sincerely do hope you go there and look these people up. I am always asking people to go to Chitral or Rawalpindi and try to find Honzagool. So far, nobody has found her. Even her family members say that they do not know where she is. The addresses provided for her in Rawalpindi have turned out to be fake.

If you ever do find her, I am of course willing to play for her airplane ticket to come to America and see her daughter.

Ismail Sloan