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Two year PoK toddler reunited with relatives in Srinagar

Written by: Staff

Srinagar, June 5 (UNI) Movez Ishaq Bhat, a two-year-old toddler who was orphaned in the devastating earthquake in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) on October 8 last year and granted Indian citizenship on Friday, holds the hands of his uncles and asks them to take him to a mosque everytime a 'muezzin' calls for prayers.

One of his uncles, Mohammad Yousuf, told UNI that Movez only goes to a person having a beard as his father used to sport one.

''He doesn't mingle with other people. Most of the time he is with me,'' said Yousuf who also sports a beard.

The child was rescued after more than seven hours from the rubble of his Muzaffarabad house where his parents were buried alive after the powerful earthquake struck on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC) killing thousands of people and rendering millions homeless.

His four-year-old brother, Sudes Ishaq Bhat, also survived the temblor as he was in the school that time.

The authorities later handed over the children to their maternal uncle, Jamil Rahman, who got Sudes admitted to a school in Rawalpindi and took care of Movez.

While Sudes has a valid Indian passport, Movez was born in Muzaffarabad and did not posses any documents and hence the confusion over his nationality.

Their grandfather, Abdul Ahad Bhat, soon after the earthquake went across the LoC to enquire about the two children and he later applied for the Indian passport or travel documents for Movez in a move to get them back to Srinagar.

Ahad had spent the past three months in Pakistan trying to organise the Indian passport for Movez.

After a long wait, 75-year-old Ahad decided to take Movez to India armed with a no objection certificate issued by the Pakistani authorities and without the requisite travel documents on Friday.

But, as he along with the grandchildren reached Wagah to cross the Indo-Pak border, the Indian High Commission in Islamabad, in a humanitarian gesture, decided to grant the Indian passport to Movez so that he could travel to Srinagar.

The three then returned to Srinagar on Saturday.

Movez's father, Mohammad Ishaq Bhat, originally hailed from Jammu and Kashmir, but settled in Muzaffarabad, the capital of PoK more than a decade ago.

Ishaq married Fatima hailing from Anantnag district in Jammu and Kashmir. The couple lived in Muzaffarabad and Fatima decided to retain her Indian nationality.

Their first child was born at her parents' hometown in Anantnag and as such could easily get the Indian passport. Movez, born in Muzaffarabad, was unable to cross the LoC because of his nationality status.

As the shutterbugs were busy trying to take pictures of the two children and asking them to pose for them, both Sudes and Movez were happily playing with their grandparents and uncles at their house in Firdousabad, Batamaloo here.


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