No one wants India-Pakistan peace more than these kids
Ariba( second from left) with her siblings
Dubai - Children of cross-border couples just want Indo-Pak peace
By Sana Altaf
Published: Mon 14 Aug 2017, 4:19 AM
Last updated: Mon 14 Aug 2017, 11:54 AM
They look beyond the boundaries and want the simmering rift to sink into oblivion. Having an equally strong bonding with both India and Pakistan, they wish peace and harmonious co-existence between their people.
These are children of cross-border couples who hold mutual love and admiration for the traditional arch-rivals.
"I belong to both, equally. I feel the pain of India and Pakistan alike. I wish I could walk to the government of the two countries and show them how families like mine live in peace and harmony despite hailing from two countries," says 17-year-old Rafia.
Born to Indian-Pakistani parents who married 20 years back in Dubai, Rafia mother is from Pakistan while her father is Indian.
Rafia says her family is a living testimony of how the people of the two countries feel. "The reality is that they love each other. What we see in the news is only politics."
Rafia feels proud of her identity. She has travelled to both the countries and finds them equally adorable. Even as she holds an Indian passport, she says feels like a citizen of Pakistan as well.
Like Rafia, 13-year-old Ariba feels unique for being born to Indian-Pakistani parents. "My friends are surprised when they come to know that my parents are from India and Pakistan. I feel so different in my friends' circle," Ariba tells Khaleej Times.
Having travelled to both nations, Ariba says she finds no difference in the culture and beauty of the two countries.
"They are both beautiful countries, with beautiful people. I don't know why they are in conflict when everything is the same between them." Ariba's mother is from India while her father is a Pakistani national. In her family, Ariba holds an Indian passport while her brother has a Pakistani passport.
"I never face problem when travelling to wither country. But my 12-year-old brother faces a hard time in getting a visa when he needs to travel to India."
Interestingly, Rafia says the only time there is 'conflict' in her household over nationality is when India and Pakistan come face to face on the cricket turf. The children are often confused whom to support.
"I side with the winning team," smiles Rafia. "My parents sometimes engage in leg-pulling, which is funny," she adds.
In Ariba's family, however, everyone watches the match together without taking sides. "We all enjoy the game without involving in any argument."
Also born to a cross-border couple, the 24-year-old Saleha doesn't have any interest in the game of cricket. Saleha, whose father is a Pakistani and mother Indian, however feels concerned about the growing Indo-Pak tensions.
"I have never found any difference in my upbringing all my life. The cultures and lifestyle of both countries are almost the same, then why these tensions?" asks Saleha, who is a teacher in Dubai.
"The two countries are bound culturally. Their languages are same and people are really good on both sides. I wish these conflicts bury their differences forever."
Born to an Indian-Pakistani couple based in Dubai, 14-year-old Abuzar wishes to see harmony between "the two great nations".
"The world must learn to live in peace and so must India and Pakistan," says Abuzar, who seems to have a thorough knowledge of the political history of both the countries.
One of the major concerns for the children of cross-border couples is the hardship in getting visas, which only seem to get worse with time. They long for a hassle-free travel to both countries
"We belong to both countries. So we should be able to enjoy living in India as well as Pakistan. Visa rules must be made easier by both the sides," is a common wish.
Saleha said even as she travels to Pakistan every year, she has not been able to go to India since 2009 because of visa issues.
Ariba too hopes the visa problems get resolved so that she can explore both countries that are "actually one".
(Some names have been changed on request)
24-year-old Saleha who works as a teacher in Dubau