Ram Kori, a young Hindu girl, fell in love and eloped with Amir Noor Ali, a Muslim boy. Her mother approached the courts, pleading that her under-age daughter had been abducted and forcibly converted. The government subsequently arrested Ali and imprisoned him for two years and Kori, now Islam Bibi, was returned to her parents. If this story sounds out of place in today’s Pakistan, it is because it pre-dates the creation of the country. The incident took place in 1936 when, in British-ruled, un-partitioned India, Hindus were in a majority unlike their numbers in present-day Pakistan. Kori was a resident of what was then the North West Frontier Province and Noor Ali came from the Waziristan tribal agency.
The tribal Muslims, however, did not take the return of the girl lying down. For the next 11 years there was a rebellion against the British, led by a local Pakhtun leader known as the Fakir of Ippi. The story of Kiran Kumari, who fell in love and eloped with a Muslim boy from a village in the southern part of Rahimyar Khan district earlier this year, is the same as Kori’s — right down to the support that both girls received from the local Muslim population. In Kiran’s case, this support has been led by Mian Abdul Haq alias Mian Mitho, the political and religious leader of the area. The only difference is that it appears that Kiran is not going to make it back to her parents.