PoK elders throng Poonch

13 October 2008
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: Despite suffering from ailments, several elderly citizens of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) today crossed over to this side from Chakkan-Da-Bagh cross-LoC point in weekly Poonch Rawlakot bus services in Poonch district hoping to see their divided family members at the fag end of their lives. The elders were among 117 civilians who crossed LoC from Chakkan-Da-Bagh today. Deputy Commissioner, Rawlakot, Muzaffar Mohd today also travelled upto cross-LoC point reportedly to review arrangements ahead of the launch of trade between two parts of the State from October 21. Ninety two year old Mohd Ibrahim son of Fazal Din, a resident of Tral Khal, PoK, was the eldest citizen ever to cross LoC into this side since the opening of Chakkan-Da-Bagh in October 2005. He had come to meet his grandsons, whom he has never seen as he was left in PoK in 1947 when his two brothers left for Poonch, at village Ghani in Mendhar tehsil. 'I wanted to meet grand children of my brothers about whom I had only heard but never seen them. At this stage of life, I’m delighted to cross LoC to meet my brother’s family', Ibrahim said after crossing over to this side. His brothers have already passed away. Another elderly citizen Fayaz Ahmed, an octogenarian, son of Bagga Khan R-o Mirpur, PoK was too on board Rawlakot-Poonch bus service. He had crossed over to PoK during 1965 war and since then was desperate to meet his nephew Mohd Sharief at Nakka Majari, the lone surviving member of his family in this part of the State. Fayyaz Ahmed had already suffered heart attacks twice. 'If I suffered the final attack on this side, I have asked my nephew to put some ‘Wattan Ki Mitti’ in my coffin before sending it to Mirpur', he said, adding he was not afraid of death before seeing his surviving family member. Septuagenarian Ilam Din of Plandri, PoK will be meeting his brother Mohd Majid son of Mehtab Din R-o Khanetar, Poonch for the first time after partition. Yet another elderly citizen, Ghulam Mohd of Mirpur, PoK has come to meet his 90 year old father Fateh Mohd, whom he had last seen in 1947. Ghulam Mohd said he wanted to spend at least one year with his father but regretted that permit conditions allowed him a maximum stay of 28 days. Thirty two year old Mohd Rashid, a resident of Bandi Abbaspur in PoK, who returned to his home town today after spending 28 days with his cousins in Mandi, Poonch, said he would apply for permit again after reaching PoK in view of love and affection he got. According to reports, a total of 117 civilians crossed Chakkan-Da-Bagh in Poonch-Rawlakot bus service during weekly opening of cross-LoC point today. Eight three civilians came to this side from PoK. Of them, 66 were first timers, who came to meet their divided families and relatives in this part of the State and 17 were citizens of this side, who returned after spending 28 days in PoK. Thirty four civilians went to PoK from this side. Among them were 29 from this side who left for PoK to meet their divided families across LoC and five others were PoK citizens who returned to their homes. Deputy Commissioner Rawlakot, Muzaffar Mohd represented PoK at Chakkan-Da-Bagh from this side District Panchayat Officer Salim Malik and DySP DAR Rajinder Singh were present.