ISLAMABAD: The Pakistani high commission in India on Friday issued visa to an Indian citizen to allow him to meet his family members in Pakistan who had been separated during the 1947 partition of the Subcontinent.
Sikka Khan, 76, met his 84-year-old brother Sadiq Khan in Kartarpur, Pakistan on January 10. But the brothers’ reunion did not last long, as each of them had to return to their countries. For the past seven decades, India-Pakistan cross-border visits have been limited by tensions and conflict.
Kartarpur is a border city where Pakistan, in late 2019, opened a visa-free crossing to allow Indian Sikh pilgrims access to one of the holiest sites of their religion, Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, which found itself on the Pakistani side of the border after the partition.
“Today, Pakistan High Commission issues visa to Sika Khan to visit his brother, Muhammed Siddique and other family members in Pakistan,” the Pakistani high commission said on Twitter.
“The two brothers, separated in 1947, were recently reunited after 74 years at Kartarpur Sahib Corridor.”
When British India split into two independent states in August 1947, Sikka’s father and elder brother, Sadiq, left Phulewala village in what became the Indian part of Punjab and returned to their paternal village of Bogran, which found itself in Pakistan. Just two years old at the time, Sikka was too young to go and stayed behind in India with his mother.
They got in touch in 2019, when Pakistani YouTuber Nasir Dhillon visited Bogran village, where Sadiq still lives, and heard his story. He shared the footage on social media and soon received a message from Jagsir Singh, a doctor in Phulewala, who connected him to Sikka.
The story of the two brothers is a powerful illustration of how the historic opening of the visa-free Kartarpur corridor is bringing people living on either side of the border close to each other.
Sikka also met with Pakistan’s Chargé d’Affaires Aftab Hasan Khan and interacted with other officials at the Pakistani high commission in New Delhi on Friday.
“I am very happy. I have received the visa, will go and meet (my brother). I thank everyone,” he said in a video message while being at the high commission.
Earlier an emotional video of the siblings’ reunion went viral on social media. “I told you we would meet again,” Sikka, 76, said through tears, as he embraced his 84-year-old brother when they met in Kartarpur, Pakistan.