NEW YORK—Naila Amin was an American teenager who wore pink velour suits and smoked cigarettes. She had a contagious, loud laugh, and envisioned herself as a police officer when she grew up. Fast forward four months, Naila found herself trapped as a 15-year-old wife in Pakistan. Ten days after her forced marriage, she rebelled by running for her life through the streets of Islamabad.
There were few females out on that January afternoon in 2005. Naila quickened her steps as she walked by men in huts, men on dusty buses, men in honking trucks, and men buying fruits and kebabs from street carts. Many of them eyed her suspiciously.
Naila was still donned in Pakistani nuptial attire—a red dress, and Henna-laden hands. It looked strange that she was not with her husband.
She thought she should check into a hotel so she could avoid bumping into familiar faces. But the manager refused to take her in without a man by her side.
So there she was, stranded in the capital. Running out of options and time, Naila considered getting into a taxi; two hours away from the city, in a remote village called Formulli, the men from all sides of her family were searching for her. Her father was at his house clutching his gun, armed and ready for an honor killing.
Naila’s decision to reject her marriage to her 28-year-old cousin brought dishonor to her family. As tradition goes, the disgrace needed to be paid for with her life.
Yet Naila could not bring herself to get into the taxi. She would have to tell the driver she was going to the U.S. Embassy. And that was a very dangerous thing for a girl to say in Pakistan.
In a Taliban-occupied country where Americans were frequently kidnapped for ransom, a situation that occurred so often that the U.S. Department of State issued a travel warning, Naila feared she would not make it to the embassy by herself. Read the full story.
Photo Credit: Portrait of Naila by Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times