SRINAGAR: A young police officer from India-held Kashmir has tied the knot with a girl from Azad Kashmir at a time when the disputed region has been hit by massive anti-India protests.
Owais Geelani, a sub-inspector with the Jammu and Kashmir Police, married Faiza Geelani, a resident of Muzaffarabad, at a function here where only the groom’s close relatives and friends were in attendance due to the ongoing unrest.
The nikah was performed in Muzaffarabad back in 2014 when Shabir Geelani, the groom’s father, had travelled to Azad Kashmir on the Karvaan-i-Amn (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 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,” Shabir Geelani, who himself retired from police department as SSP in 2014, said on Friday.
Faiza has a postgraduate degree in education, planning and management from the National University of Modern Languages, Islamabad, and the marriage was solemnised on Tuesday.
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 in Muzaffarabad that had led to the marriage.
During the visit to Azad Kashmir, Geelani felt the need for bringing the divided family closer and proposed the match between Owais and Faiza.
“I called Owais on phone and he gave his nod and we performed the nikah,” he said.
He expressed the hope that marriages like his son’s would help bring the two parts of Kashmir closer.
“I think opening of all traditional routes along the LoC will increase people-to-people contacts, leading to better understanding between the people on the two sides of the LoC.
“Once that happens, may be one day, the governments of the two sides will also understand each other better and find a way out of the decades-old uncertainty,” he added.
By arrangement with the Times of India
Published in Dawn, September 3rd, 2016