Lahore, May 22 : Raja Ali Muhammad, a farmer hailing from Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh's ancestral village Gah, in Chakwal district in Pakistan, who studied with the latter in a primary school before Manmohan's family moved to India after the Partition, has been granted visa to visit India. Though no arrangement has yet been made to allow him to meet the Indian premier, he hopes media help could arrange a meeting.
No able to quote his age correctly, Raja says he studied with Manmohan, whom he remembers calling Mohana, in primary classes somewhere around mid-1930s.
Recounting school days, Ali says that he and Manmohan were classmates at the Gah primary school for around four years. "It was 1936 or 1937 I think...We were class fellows until primary, which was up to four classes back then," The News quoted him as saying.
But Ali is not so sure that he would be able to meet the Indian premier because, he says, "he must be a busy man". He insists that he is not going to India to meet the premier. "I consider him my class fellow and a friend first and a prime minister later," he says.
The farmer from Gah says he will go to the Indian premier's house and meet his friend's family. "I will go to his house as I want to see and meet my bhabhi and his children."
Although the Indian Embassy or the Pakistani government have not offered to help arrange a meeting between the Indian premier and his friend, Ali hopes that a meeting might just be possible with a little help from media.
He says many people, including journalists, visited Gah after Manmohan became the prime minister of India. "Many people visited our village. A majority of them, however, came only up to Katas and that is where I met many legislators and a former Indian army chief who migrated to India during partition," Ali adds.
Things have really started to change for good for the residents of Gah since then. Ali says that the village now has a solar electricity system gifted by India. Other facilities are also in place now, he says.
According to the paper, Ali has been granted visa for Delhi, Amritsar, Ambala and Ajmer Sharif.