Two Muslim women of Pakistani origin got married in a civil ceremony in the UK and applied for political asylum claiming threats to their lives.
The women - Rehasana Kausar (34) and Sobia Kamar (29), became the first Muslim lesbian couple to get married. The ceremony took place at a registry office in Leeds, West Yorkshire.
Since homosexuality is considered illegal in Islam law, there was little scope for the couple's marriage to be acceptable by the community. Moreover, Pakistan doesn't have any provision for safeguarding such couples against discrimination and harassment.
Kausar, a post-graduate in Economics from Punjab University, had been living with partner Kamar for three years ever since both came to the UK on student visas.
"This country allows us rights and it's a very personal decision that we have taken. It's no one's business as to what we do with our personal lives," Kausar told Sunday Mercury Newspaper.
"The problem with Pakistan is that everyone believes he is in charge of other people lives and can best decide about the morals of others but that's not the right approach and we are in this state because of our clergy, who have hijacked our society which was once a tolerant society and respected individuals freedoms."
The couple opted for a civil union under UK's Civil Partnership Act 2004 allowing rights to same sex marriage.
The simple ceremony was witnessed by two friends and the couple wore white traditional dresses.
Speaking for the duo, a relative informed, "The couple did not have an Islamic marriage ceremony, known as a nikah, as they could not find an Imam to conduct what would have been a controversial ceremony.
"They have been very brave throughout as our religion does not condone homosexuality."
"The couple has had their lives threatened both here and in Pakistan and there is no way they could ever return there."
Voicing the landmark step and insecurity faced by the couple, British human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell told The News International: "I am delighted for these two women. They are obviously deeply in love and that's a wonderful thing. How can anyone object to love? It is sad that Komal and Kausar can only have a civil partnership in Britain, and not in their homeland of Pakistan."
"Gay couples in Pakistan should be able to marry, just like their heterosexual friends and family. Even if some Pakistani people don't agree with lesbian relationships I hope they will accept that two women should have the right to love and marry each other. The right to marry is a human right. It applies to everyone, gay and heterosexual. No government should deny anyone the right to marry the person they love," he added.