A young police officer from Kashmir has tied the knot with a girl from PoK as cross-LoC bonds blossomed at a time when the state Police grappled with pro-Pakistan protests in the Valley.
Owais Geelani, a sub-inspector with Jammu and Kashmir Police, married Faiza Geelani, a resident of Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), at a function here where only the groom’s close relatives and friends were in attendance due to the ongoing unrest.
The marriage was solemnised in a hotel here at a time when the cops have borne the brunt of protesters’ ire in the Valley that has been rocked by nearly two-month-long unrest. The two families are related to each other but were separated during the Partition.
The ‘Nikkah’ was performed in Muzaffarabad in 2014 when Shabir Geelani, father of the groom, had travelled to PoK to visit his divided family on the ‘Karavan-e-Aman’ (the Peace Caravan) bus service between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad.
“The wedding ceremony had to be cancelled several times due to the prevailing situation during which the cross-LoC bus service was suspended for many days. Finally, when the bus service resumed, the bride and her close family members arrived here on Monday for the function,” Geelani senior, who himself retired from Police department as SSP in 2014, told PTI in Srinagar on September 2.
Owais’ marriage with Faiza, a post-graduate in education, planning and management from National University of Modern Languages, Islamabad was solemnised on Tuesday.
The wedding comes at a time when the local cops, who are battling the protesters across the Valley, have been threatened by militants to stay away from their duties. Houses of some cops have been ransacked by mobs since the current unrest began in Kashmir on July 9, a day after Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed in an encounter with security forces.
The groom’s father, who hails from Karnah town near the Line of Control (LoC), said it was his longing to visit members of his divided family — due to the 1947 war between India and Pakistan — in Muzaffarabad that led to the marriage of his son to the girl from PoK.
“In 1947, our family got divided and only my father was left on this side while rest of his family were left on the other side. Most of our lands and estate are in Muzaffarabad… in fact, Karnah was part of Muzaffarabad till 1947.
“I had heard a lot of things from my father about my grandfather and other relatives in Muzaffarabad … When my grandfather died, my father could not attend his funeral as there was no cross-LoC movement allowed. So it was my desire to pay my respects at the grave of my grandfather,” Geelani said.
During the visit to PoK, Geelani felt the need for bringing close the divided family and proposed the match between Owais and Faiza.
“I called Owais on phone and he give his nod and we performed the Nikkah,” he said.
Geelani expressed the hope that marriages like his son’s case would help bring the divided parts of Jammu and Kashmir closer.
“The people living along the LoC have been worst sufferers of the conflict and acrimony between India and Pakistan. I think opening of all traditional routes along the LoC would increase people-to-people contact, leading to better understanding between the people on two sides of the LoC.
“Once that happens, may be one day, the governments of two sides will also understand each other better and find a way out of the decades-old uncertainty,” he added.