World, Asia - Pacific

Pakistani YouTuber reuniting families divided between India, Pakistan

2 brothers separated during 1947 partition of South Asian neighbors reunite after 75 years

Kiran Butt and Ahmad Adil   | 15.01.2022
Pakistani YouTuber reuniting families divided between India, Pakistan

Delhi

LAHORE, Pakistan/NEW DELHI

At a time when relations between India and Pakistan are marred due to hostilities, a Pakistan-based YouTube channel is reuniting families separated during the partition of the South Asian nuclear powers in 1947.

In the latest such reunion, Nasir Dhillon, 37, who runs a YouTube channel named Punjabi Lehar from Pakistan, has successfully reunited two brothers living in India and Pakistan after a 75-year gap.

A video of the reunion of two brothers, Muhammad Siddique, who lives in eastern Pakistan’s Faisalabad city, and Sikka Khan, a resident of northern India’s Punjab state, has gone viral on social media. The video shows an emotional union after they met for the first time earlier this week at the Kartarpur Gurdwara temple in Pakistan.

Dhillon, who is based in Faisalabad and runs the channel along with his Sikh friend, told Anadolu Agency that he has already reunited more than 200 families.

“We run this web channel as a hobby. Our main focus is on the stories related to the partition,” he said.

Dhillon said in November last year he reunited two childhood friends who got separated during the partition.

“Sardar Singh is now settled in America and his friend Raju’s family is living in Pakistan. We also facilitated the visit of Indian Punjabi singer Gippy Grewal to his native village Chak 47 Mansooran in Faisalabad,” he said.

Dhillon said they came across many cases in the past where parents were left in India and children came to Pakistan or vice versa, and the Kartarpur corridor has facilitated the meeting of divided families.

Despite a chill in bilateral ties over Kashmir, Islamabad and New Delhi signed a landmark agreement in November 2019 to open the Kartarpur corridor to allow Indian pilgrims to visit the holy Sikh shrine in Pakistan.


Story of 2 brothers

The emotional story of the two brothers, Siddique and Khan, has become the talk of the town across the borders.

A few days after the first brief meeting at Kartarpur, they are now waiting for visas and want to spend some time together.

In Faisalabad, Siddique in his late eighties says he remembers the incident vividly when he got separated from Habib, who later on got the name of Sikka Khan.

During the partition, Siddique was staying at his home in the village of Jugaraun in India with his younger sister and father, while his mother, along with Habib, left to meet her family in the Phulewal village.

When Siddique’s village came under attack at the time of the partition, his father fled towards Faisalabad, taking along him and his younger sister. On their way, the father was killed and the sister also later died due to severe illness.

On the other hand, the mother was not able to bear the trauma and took her life and left behind child Habib.

“I knew that my brother was alive,” Siddique told Anadolu Agency. “I am thankful to the family who took care of him. The moment I saw him, I ran towards him and hugged him. We cried for almost half an hour and inquired about each other’s journey.”

Still emotional, Siddique said he is now waiting for both countries to give visas, so they can frequently meet.

“I want to request the prime ministers of both countries to grant us special visas so we can meet each other for the rest of our lives,” he said.


Prompt response

Dhillon said when he uploaded the video about Siddique looking for his brother in 2019, he was contacted by Dr. Jasgir Singh, a medical practitioner from the Phulewal village in Indian Punjab, where Khan lives.

Singh told Anadolu Agency that when he saw the video on social media, he contacted Dhillon, and subsequently a video call was arranged.

“This story has touched everyone’s heart. Everyone is happy that they have finally met,” he said, adding their reunion was delayed since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Phulewal, the villagers are jubilant, and for many, the reunion is no less than a movie story.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, octogenarian Khan said he is very happy with the reunion. “It was a long wait, but I finally reunited with him,” he said. “I am thankful to those who helped me.”

Khan, after the partition, has been living alone in the village and working as a farm laborer with a Sikh family.

He said the Pakistani government should issue him a visa so that he can frequently meet his brother. “I want to go again and spend more time with him,” he said.

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