I'm not a prisoner - Bay student in Pakistan

Young Uitenhage woman who left SA for Pakistan says she is ‘perfectly fine’ and not a captive

Shanaaz Jacobs insists she wants to be in Pakistan
Shanaaz Jacobs insists she wants to be in Pakistan
Image: Supplied

She is not being held captive in a foreign country or being abused there. So says the former Nelson Mandela University student who left South Africa without telling her parents in January to be with her boyfriend in Pakistan.

Shanaaz Jacobs, 19, who lived with her parents and siblings in Uitenhage, has finally spoken out after her family alleged that her boyfriend, Pakistani national Warqas Khan, whom she met last year while he was in South Africa, was preventing her from returning home.

Jacobs has accused her parents of causing “unnecessary drama” in her life – and said she had attempted suicide because of it.

Before she blocked all of her family’s phone numbers on WhatsApp, Jacobs had sent her mother a picture, depicting several cuts to her arm.

“Yes, I did cut myself, that is not a lie,” she admitted.

“But it’s because of the unnecessary drama [my parents] are creating – they are causing me too much tension.

“I keep thinking if I go back to SA, what will people say of me?”

Jacobs said she had initially contemplated coming back to South Africa, but later changed her mind.

“I spoke to my mom a week ago [in late March] and told her that I’m coming back because they keep making drama so I decided I’m going to come back.

“Three days after that Imheard I am in the newspaper [again] and after I read [the stories] I saw they were lying again, after I told them I’m coming back.

“So I was too much cross and then I changed my mind and said I’m going to stay here [in Pakistan].”

Jacobs’s mother, Desiree Hill, 39, said she was talking nonsense.

“It’s those people [in Pakistan] who are making her say those things, it’s not her. I know my child is not happy there, I promise you,” Hill said.

But Jacobs insisted she was fine.

“My parents are just lying, they are totally making [up] rumours, telling lies that I’m being abused and kept against my own will [but] I’m perfectly fine. I am not talking to my parents and that is my decision. I am 19 years old and I came here because I want to be here and stay [in Pakistan].

“All these things they are saying are not true – I don’t know what they want.

“Even though I was upset, I called my mom and I tried to speak calmly and with respect.

“I asked her why she’s doing this because she’s destroying my whole reputation – not only mine, but my [Pakistani] family’s reputation too. I’m staying with them and I regard them as family.”

On her application for a tourist visa, Jacobs listed “to meet my friend and his family and to see the beautiful and historical places of Pakistan” as the purpose of the visit.

Asked if she planned on staying longer in Pakistan, Jacobs said: “Yes, I’m going to stay here, because I want to stay here. My visa has been extended.”