The strains in India-Pakistan ties over militant attacks along the border have cast a shadow over weddings involving people of the two neighbouring nations, with some from the other side, including a bride, yet to get visas.
Naresh Tekwani (27), from Shankar Nagar of Jodhpur, is set to marry Priya Bachani of Sindh province in Pakistan, in Jodhpur on November 8. But his family and relatives are worried as Priya is yet to get a visa.
Priya’s cousin Shristi Jhamnani (32), who also hails from Karachi and is married to Bharat Jhamnani, a businessman in Kota since 2005, told Hindustan Times that around 15 family members, including Priya, had applied for visa around three months back, but are yet to get a response.
“We here and Priya’s family in Karachi have slowed down wedding preparations after the tensions between India and Pakistan started growing off late,” she said.
Shrishti said she was quite excited about the wedding as she would have gotten the opportunity to meet her parents, siblings, and other relatives from Karachi.
Tekwani, the groom, is concerned about the situation. “We have made almost 80% of preparations for the wedding.”
If his fiancee and to-be in-laws do not get visa in time, they will be forced to postpone the wedding, he said.
The tension between the two nations has also affected wedding preparations in Jehangir Baig’s house in Bundi.
Baig’s son Zuber Akhtar is set to marry a young woman from Bundi itself on November 28. But Baig’s sister-in-law and relatives – about 7-8 people – from Karachi, planning to attend the wedding, are facing the same visa problem as Priya and her family.
“Our relatives in Karachi have not got visas yet. They would feel bad if they are not able to make it to the wedding,” he said.
Baig’s relative, Abdul Haneef Zaidi, a resident of Kota, had married Raziya of Karachi 38 years ago.
He said there have been eight cross-border weddings in his family in the last four decades and it is normal for relatives to want to meet each other, despite being in different countries.
Zaidi, who was planning to visit his relatives in Pakistan in December this year, has now postponed his plans due to the hostilities between the neighbours.
“This is not the first time when weddings have come under the shadow of cross-border tension. A wedding in 1999 was postponed for two years,” he said.
Tension escalated between India and Pakistan over the last month following an attack by militants on Uri army base which killed 19 soldiers. India blamed Pakistan militant groups for the attack.
Following this, the Indian Army last week conducted “surgical strikes” at militant camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, destroying seven terror launch pads and killing an unknown number of militants.
Since then the militaries of the two countries have been shelling each other in violation of the 2003 ceasefire agreement on a daily basis, creating fears of a sub-continental war between the nuclear-armed neighbours.
For more stories on the cross border tensions, click here.