By Dave Andrusko
A young Pakistani woman is back safely in Rome after being conned into returning to her native Pakistan and being forced to have an abortion against her will, according to a tweet sent out today by Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano.
The case of a 19-year-old woman, identified as Farah, attracted a lot of interest in Italy following the recent strangulation death in Pakistan of Sana Cheema, an Italian of Pakistani origin who police suspect was killed by her family because she refused an arranged marriage.
Citing Italian news reports, the AP explained that Farah “managed to sneak text and audio messages to her friends in Italy,” writing that she feared for her life. Farah recounted “that her parents had tricked her into returning to Pakistan for her brother’s wedding and then forced her to abort her child.”
According to Italian media, Farah tweeted, “They sedated me, tied me to a bed and forced me to have an abortion.”
The Italian government got involved even though Farah, as a student, only had a residency permit, not Italian citizenship. The foreign ministry contacted Italy’s embassy in Islamabad.
“Once in the embassy, Italy arranged for Farah’s Pakistani passport to be renewed — her family had destroyed the one she traveled with — and issued her a visa to return to Italy,” according to the Associated Press.
Alfano “thanked Pakistani authorities who had removed Farah from her family’s Lahore-area home and brought her to the Italian embassy in Islamabad.”
He’d previously said that acting on Farah’s behalf was a matter of respecting her human rights and “fundamental rights based on the equality of men and women.”