As Nawaz Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League (N) emerged as the leading party in the Pakistan general elections; it was jubilation time at Sharif's ancestral village Jatti Umra in Tarn Taran district on Sunday.
As the prayers were already on for the past few days, Sunday witnessed drum beats, exchange of sweets, bhangra and congratulatory calls as the news broke out that Sharif's party had emerged victorious.
Happy at Sharif and his party doing well, the villagers hoped that once Sharif became the Prime Minister, the relations with India would improve.
As the youth celebrated, 86-year-old Massa Singh, a friend of Sharif's father, Mian Mohammad Sharif, has already made up his mind to go across the border and meet the Sharif family.
File photo of Nawaz Sharif. (Reuters)
Talking to reporters, Massa Singh said, "Since the poll process started in Pakistan, our village was praying for Sharif and his party. Today, when Sharif's party has emerged victorious, it is like a festival in the village."
Massa Singh, who has gone to Pakistan on seven occasions to meet Sharif and his family, said, "We have high hopes that once Sharif becomes the Prime Minister, the strained Indo-Pakistan relations will improve."
Going down memory lane, Massa Singh said Sharif's father had six brothers, and the family had migrated to Lahore 14 years before Partition.
Villagers performed ardas at the gurdwara, which once used to be the house of the Sharif family.
Another resident, 46-year-old Balwinder Singh, said, "There are many in the village who visit Pakistan regularly to meet Sharif and his family. Massa Singh has gone to Pakistan seven times, Gian Singh twice and I have visited Pakistan four times. Now again, we all want to meet him and congratulate him. If we get the visa, at least 10 people would go to Pakistan."
Balwinder, who claimed that Sharif visited the village in 1982, said, "Though the family has migrated, they still show great love for the village. They have mentioned the name of our village in all their business establishments in Pakistan. Whenever we go, they look after us like a family."
This is the reason the village loves him so much and today it is a festive mood here, he said.
Mohinder Kaur, who has also visited Lahore, said, "Our village has great regard for the Sharif family. Sharif is the son of this village and has helped various boys of Jatti Umra get jobs in the United Arab Emirates. We want Sharif to become the PM and visit his ancestral village."
Last year also, when Shahbaaz Sharif, brother of Nawaz, was to visit Jatti Umra, the village had geared up for a grand welcome. But, the villagers were dejected as the visit was later cancelled.
Sharif's father and grandfather Ramzan Sharif, along with their family, lived in the village in their haveli. But even after migration of the family, the bond between people of this village and the Sharif family remains.