November 2005 News

Five PoK civilians cross Line of Control

28 November 2005
The Hindu
Luv Puri

Tattapani (Line of Control): Tattapani (Line of Control): For the first time in five decades, five residents of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir crossed over to this side of the Line of Control to meet their relatives on Monday. They were the first group of people from PoK to cross the LoC after India and Pakistan recently decided to open five points to facilitate meetings between divided families. Since the decision to open the points was taken, only residents from this side of the LoC were able to cross over to PoK. The PoK civilians crossed over at 3 p.m. on Monday with the consent of Army commanders on both sides. The crossover ceremony was monitored by Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Mendhar Bachan Singh and SDM, Kotli (PoK), Mohammad Nayeem. Earlier, eight PoK civilians were given permission, but due to lack of complete papers only five were allowed entry. The PoK civilians were given a warm welcome by people from this side. There were emotional scenes as separated relatives greeted each other. It was a significant moment for Sohail Mehmood (52), a resident of Kotli in PoK, when he crossed over as he was returning to his birthplace. 'I waited for the last five decades for this moment. I remember all of my childhood which I have spent here,' he said. 'Master Talat, Sohail's relative, had come to meet him. 'It is a dream come true for me, I have only communicated with my cousin through letters,' he said. Syed Akbar Khan, a retired teacher from Mendhar, wept when he met his nephew Raja Mohammad Iqbal (48), a resident of Kotli. 'This is the first time I am meeting my nephew. God bless the people who have taken the decision tomake this possible.' There were many others whose relatives were not intimated in time of their arrival. Bi (65), a resident of Kolti, had come with her 28-year-old son Tariq to meet her sister in the Manjakote area of Rajouri. 'We could not inform our relatives on this side of the LoC. It would be a big surprise for them,' she said.


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