Pakistani national dies in Bihar village, fulfils last wish

By Imran Khan, IANS 

Patna : Haji Sheikh Manzoor, an 81-year-old Pakistani national, wanted to die in his ancestral village in Bihar from where he had migrated almost 60 years ago. His wish came true last week.

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Almost a year ago, Manzoor came to Bhairo-Khada village in Samastipur district, about 80 km from here, hoping to spend his last days with his family members.

He wrote to the Indian government to extend his visa twice on grounds of ill health. Last month, he made an appeal to the external affairs ministry through the Bihar government to allow him to stay with his family for some more time. And about a week before his death, the Indian government extended his visa.

Manzoor died in his ancestral village last week, surrounded by his sons, grandchildren and other relatives. He was buried in the graveyard where his forefathers had been laid to rest.

"He was not at all ready to return to Pakistan under any circumstance. It was his love for his family and the homeland of his ancestors that prompted him to stay back," Manzoor's son, Heyat Mohammad, said.

Heyat said his father used to tell any visitor who came to meet him that he wanted to spend his last days in the village. "He used to say 'don't separate me from my children. I have spent my life without them. Now, I want to die here.'"

A Postal Department employee in Karachi, Manzoor's family was torn apart during the partition in 1947. Although he migrated to Pakistan, his wife and children stayed back in the village.

The villagers said Manzoor's whereabouts were not known for over three decades. Finally, he established contact with his family in 1980. Since then he had been a regular visitor to Bhairo-Khada.