Saudi Arabia: Canadian girl finally leaves Kingdom

Arab News

A dual Indian and Canadian national who complained to the Canadian government that her father was keeping her in Riyadh against her will has finally left the Kingdom. According to the Canadian Embassy, Nazia Quazi, 24, left the Kingdom on Monday. “Quazi, who was given all possible assistance by the Canadian mission, has flown out of Saudi Arabia,” said Sidney Fisher, spokeswoman for the Canadian Embassy in Riyadh. 

Fisher did not reveal where Quazi had flown to, but an Emirates Airlines executive told Arab News that Quazi was holding a ticket for the Indian city of Hyderabad with a longer transit stay in Dubai. According to her travel itinerary, Quazi is to travel to Hyderabad on July 26. She was also accompanied by a member of her family.

Quazi, who studied at the University of Ottawa, was held against her will in the Kingdom because of the country’s male guardianship system, which was used by her family to stop her from traveling abroad.

She claimed her father refused to let her leave the country because he did not approve of her boyfriend, Bjorn Singhal, who she met in Ottawa. According to a report published on Monday, Singhal, whose family also do not approve of Quazi, said they will marry in Dubai on Wednesday. A few hours before her scheduled departure, Quazi got her Canadian passport and some money that she had entrusted to the Canadian Embassy for safekeeping.

Apart from being of different faiths, Quazi’s parents objected to the relationship as Singhal’s mother smokes.

They also feared that he wished to marry her to get Canadian citizenship and access to her father’s wealth. It was also reported that Singhal was willing to change his religion to marry Quazi.

Originally from India, Quazi moved to Canada with her mother and two brothers in 2001 from Riyadh where they had been living for several years. Her father, Quazi Malik Abdul Gaffar, however, remained in Riyadh.


Published: May 11, 2010 23:36 Updated: May 11, 2010 23:36