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Tarn Taran’s Jatti Umra showers love on its son, Shahbaz Sharif
GS Paul
Tribune News Service

Jatti Umra (Tarn Taran), December 15
It was an emotional moment for Pakistan’s Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif as he hugged Massa Singh and Gyan Singh, childhood friends of his father Mian Mohammad Sharif, at his ancestral village Jatti Umra in Tarn Taran district today.

Shahbaz, along with Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his deputy Sukhbir Badal, landed at the village around 5.20 pm, more than two hours behind the schedule. The longing to see his ancestral land was visible in his eyes, as he tried to match the description of the village with the stories told to him by his father and uncles. He first headed to the village gurdwara, where his ancestral house once stood.

The house was kept intact till 1962 when Sharif brothers visited the village and donated their ancestral property, along with a piece of land, which has now been converted into Gurdwara Sri Kalgidhar Sahib.

During a function, organised in Shahbaz’s honour, octogenarians Massa Singh and Gyan Singh kissed the forehead of Pakistan’s Punjab CM and blessed his wife Nusrat Sharif, son Suleman Sharif, daughter-in-law Jainab, daughter Ayesha Haroon and son-in-law Haroon Yousaf Aziz.

Shahbaz, speaking in chaste Punjabi, recalled his first visit to the village along with his father and five uncles when they sat on cots in the panchayat and relished milk served by villagers.

He said his father had an emotional connect with Jatti Umra because his was the only Muslim family in the Sikh-dominated village. “It was destiny that my father migrated before Partition and I was born in Pakistan. Had my family not migrated, I would have been born in Jatti Umra and, by that equation, I am the son of the village,” Shahbaz said.

Remembering his family’s struggle, he said his uncles worked as daily wagers at a factory of one Hindu and later set up their iron casting factory.

Later, the family of Major Singh, friend of Mohammad Sharif, honoured Shahbaz with a gold pendant (kaintha). The villagers presented Shahbaz’s family with shawls and gold rings. Welcoming Shahbaz, CM Badal showered sops on the village. Badal said he had sanctioned development projects worth Rs 3.52 crore.

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