M A I N   N E W S

Maqbool, Tahira tie cross-border knot
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Qadian, December 7
The first cross-border marriage after the attack on Parliament in 2001 was solemnised here today amid much bonhomie and media hype at the international headquarters of Ahmadiya Muslims. In her traditional attire of a Muslim bride, Tahira Hazur, who hails from Faislabad in Pakistan, tied the nuptial knot with her Indian cousin, Maqbool Ahmad.

The couple had to wait for this auspicious day for more than 20 months since their engagement, held in March, 2001 in Pakistan, due to the snapping of rail, road and air links between India and Pakistan.

A large number of Hindu, Sikh and Muslim brethren thronged the Mubarak Masjid to attend the nikah after the namaz of Zohar. In the absence of the parents of Tahira, who could not attend the marriage due to visa hassles, the chief secretary of the Ahmadiyas, Mirza Wasim Ahmad, read out from the “Khut-bai-Nikah” (nuptial sermon), “Allah will set your doings right and forgive your sins. He who obeys Allah and His Apostle achieveth the greatest success”.

The nikah was followed by the recital of holy verses of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani, founder of the Ahmadiya Jamat. In a choked voice, Mirza Wasim said the desire of the father of Tahira to participate in the ceremony could not be fulfilled. He said he was performing the duty of ‘waqil’ in the absence of the bride’s father.

He made the traditional announcement of ‘Mehar Haq’ for Rs 25,000, a religious contract, liable to be paid by the bridegroom in case of divorce.

The eyes of Tahira welled up with tears in the morning as she was missing her parents. However, the day brought a lot of joy later when well-wishers belonging to different religions started visiting the house of Dr Bashir, her local guardian.

“Let the Indo-Pak border remain open for ever so that a number of cross-border marriages can be solemnised”, she said while praying to Allah. She said a large number of girls and boys from Pakistan wanted to marry in Qadian, considered to be the holiest place for Ahmadiya Muslims.

Mr R.L. Bhatia, MP from Amritsar, Mr Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, a state minister, Bibi Kiranjot Kaur, a former general secretary of the SGPC, Mr K.A.P. Sinha, Deputy Commissioner, Bathinda, and Mr Parminder Singh Gill were among those who greeted the couple.

Two major television channels brought their OB vans for the live coverage of the marriage.

Maqbool Ahmad, who was looking extremely happy over his “belated marriage”, said he could not go on honeymoon anywhere as his wife had got visa for Qadian only.

Mr Khurshida Begham (88), mother of the bridegroom, said she had never thought that the marriage of her son would get so much publicity.

Ms Talat Bashir, who looked after the bride like her own daughter, said she herself belonged to Pakistan.

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