Asia

Karachi groom chased from wedding after first wife turns up

Asif Rafiq Siddiqi sat on the ground in a screengrab from a video shared on social media Image copyright Social media
Image caption The man, named as Asif Rafiq Siddiqi, was beaten by his new bride's family

A groom has been chased from his own wedding by an angry crowd - after his first wife arrived to let his new bride know he was already married to not one, but two other women.

Asif Rafiq Siddiqi, described as a bearded, hefty man in his mid-30s, was pushed and slapped by the crowd, his shirt torn and his pants ripped in the violence that followed the revelation.

The groom, who ended up cowering under a bus, was saved by unknown people.

Polygamy is legal in Pakistan.

However, while a man can have as many as four wives, he must get the consent of his previous wives before he marries again.

It appears that Mr Siddiqi failed to fulfill this critical step, and the first his new wife and her family knew of his previous marriages was when an enraged woman marched into the banqueting hall in the coastal city of Karachi, where celebrations were taking place.

"What's the matter sister?" one of the bride's relatives is heard asking on a video of the event.

The woman, Madiha Siddiqi, wasted no time in getting to the point.

"He is my husband, and he is the father of this child. He told me he was going to Hyderabad for three days," she alleged. She was with a little boy she said was their son.

Image copyright Social media
Image caption The wedding was interrupted by a woman claiming to be the first of his three wives

The family then tried to usher her into a side room, which gave her the opportunity to point out more of the people she claims are her relatives.

"That is my mother-in-law and that is my jethani [sister-in-law], who said her mother had been sick for three days and was on IV drips," Mrs Siddqi continued, before confronting the newlywed bride directly.

"Didn't you know that he was my husband? He didn't even think about this innocent child."

However, it did not stop there: Ms Siddiqi said she had married the groom in 2016, after meeting him at Karachi's Federal Urdu University, where Mr Siddiqi is understood to work.

Then she revealed he had secretly married his second wife, named as Zehra Ashraf, a teacher at Jinnah Women's University in Karachi, in 2018. The first Mrs Siddiqi knew of that marriage was a text message from her husband's new wife.

Mrs Siddiqi said Mr Siddiqi initially denied that wife's existence, but later admitted he had wed for a second time.

It was Ms Ashraf who also informed Mrs Siddiqi of the latest wedding, sending her in a rage to the celebrations.

It is not clear what exactly happened next. However, police called to the scene told BBC that relatives of the bride pounced on Asif, tore up his clothes and beat him black and blue.

Officers rescued Mr Siddiqi, taking him a a nearby police station - but the bride's relatives followed and waited for him to emerge.

They pounced the moment Mr Siddiqi reappeared - sending him scuttling under a bus. In a video of the scene, voices can be heard threatening him to "come out or we'll put the bus on fire".

Scared, he shouts back, "one minute, one minute", as he prepares to crawl out. As he moves, some people intervene to prevent further violence.

BBC tried to contact Mr Siddiqi and his latest bride's relatives for comments, but they were not available.

Rao Nazim, head of Taimuriha police station, told the BBC no formal complaint had been registered as yet.

"It is a family matter, and the complainants need to go the family court to settle their issues," he said.

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