Dubai: Crossborder couples from India and Pakistan are bracing for a double celebration this week as the Pakistan Independence Day on August 14 will be followed by the Indian Independence Day on August 15.
But while their cross-border love has grown from strength to strength, couples regret that they must still contend with travel restrictions to each other’s home countries.
Indian expat Rohit Bachani, 38, who is married to Pakistani expat Asha, 36, said it is a challenge procuring a Pakistani visa for him as it is for his wife when she needs to visit India. “It is a tedious exercise and puts off our plans to visit home at times,” said Rahul. “Cross-border love happens and ease of visa restrictions between India and Pakistan will go a long way in strengthening the bond between families,” said Rohit who hails from Mumbai, but was born and raised in Dubai.
Rohit said when his son Aarav (holding an Indian passport) was born, he was given a “reporting visa”. “My wife had to take our son to a police station after arriving in Pakistani to prove his identity. Today, I am proud that my son is a global citizen,” he said.
A poster made by the five-year-old boy showing his love for both India and Pakistan proves just that.
Indian expat Tabrez Karim, 48, said his Pakistani wife Erum, 45, has not been to India in the last five years. Tabrez whose family is based out of Maduraiin the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu said, “In the last 19 years of our marriage, I have tried to procure her visa several times. The first time it took two months, another time it took four months. The last time I tried for her visa, it took almost a year. Now, we have given up plans to go to India on vacation. If there is a family requirement, I fly alone.”
Erum, who celebrated their 19th wedding anniversary on Tuesday, said, cherishes the memories of her wedding in Madurai. “Tabrez and I are both Memons. His ancestors originally lived in Gujarat and then moved down south for business purposes. I have relatives in India and in Madurai also. My wedding was beautiful as I met many relatives as well. The people are simple, down-to-earth and very loving. I wish I could visit the place more often.”
'Never challenged for love'
Pakistani expat Mahwish Naseem, 39, from Karachi said “Indo-Pak” marriages are never challenged for their love.
“Our families love and respect each other. Our traditions are similar. We speak each other’s language, the cuisines are almost similar. The only challenge we face is the inflexibility when it comes to travel. We hope things become easier for couples like us.”
Mahwish’s husband Jahanzeb Mashhadi, 43, who speaks Urdu just like her, is from India.