Jallas/Poonch: Niaz Mohammad is finally home to reunite with his wife after 42 years. He had crossed the India-Pakistan border during the 1965 War while his wife, Barkat Bi, and son Issak were left behind in Poonch. They had remained separated ever since.
"Kannon tha border hain koin. Nay eh government aane detei na woj. Humko naye zindagi mile hai (There were rules, borders. Both governments would not allow us to come. Now things are changing. It's like a new life for me. I feel like I am born again)," Niaz Mohamamd says.
For years, Niaz has lived in Teri village in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, barely 800 metres from his home in Jallas while the rest of his family stayed in the border village of Jallas in Poonch district.
"Din ko aate is ilake to dekhte. Dukh to bahut hona ( I could see my house, the entire village, and the people, my neighbours from the other side. It was such a pain that a I could not cross a distance of just 5-10 minutes)," Niaz recalls.
"Takne rahe hain (I would just wait and watch every day. Pakistan is just right across. But we could not meet)," Barkat Bi, Niaz Mohamamd's wife, says.
Niaz travelled home recently on the Poonch-Rawalkote bus — which began plying last year.
But it clearly looks like a very difficult reunion for this family. The bus that bridged the distance between Teri Not and Jallas will once again take them apart, for a second time.
For Niaz will be here for only 28 days — till his permit lasts. The family hopes to change just that,
"My father is old now. He should live with his family. Even my children say they will not let him go. I will not let him go," Niaz's son Issak says of his helplessness.
(With Darshan Bharti)