Divided families across the border a disappointed lot
18 December 2004
Srinagar: Mohammad Shafi Dinposh is a dejected man. He had, like many divided families across the Kashmir, pinned hopes on the recently-held talks between India and Pakistan over the issue of opening of the Srinagar- Muzaffarabad road. The 60-year-old Srinagar resident had been waiting to make the shorter journey through this road to meet his father, Abdul Ahad Dinposh, who is settled in Rawalpindi in Pakistan. He came here in 1947 in connection with his business. The tragedy is that whenever Dinposh made plans to visit his father, it was upset by the heightening of hostilities between India and Pakistan. 'This time I had high hopes that the road would be opened going by media reports,' he said. 'How long will we remain divided?' he asked. When it was pointed out that there were other roads which were open, he shot back: 'Why are you forcing us to spend five days instead of five hours?' Farooq Ahmed Shah, a Baramulla resident, is also upset with the developments. One half of his family is on the other side. Though he did manage to visit them once, he wants an end to the unstable situation. The plight is no different on the other side of the Line of Control (LoC). During a recent trip to Pakistan- occupied Kashmir (PoK), this reporter heard pathetic stories of many divided families. When New Delhi proposed to run the bus between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad as part of renewed steps toward normalisation, Mohammad Muzaffar Wafa, a retired government official in Muzaffarabad, asked his wife to pack their belongings. 'Now we will be going home, so be ready,' he told her. 'Since then he has not allowed me to open that suitcase,' his wife told The Hindu recently. Mr. Wafa has developed a serious psychological problem now,' she said. Another Kashmiri who had been waiting for a long time to visit his native place died only a few days after the announcement on the bus service came. He too had packed his baggage.