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Band, baaja, baaraat: Borders blur as Pakistan woman reaches Kolkata to marry local boy

KOLKATA: Karachi resident Jaweria Khanum’s cross-border love story is different from that of Anju, who abandoned her Indian husband and children to marry Pakistani Nasrullah, and Seema Haider, who entered India secretly to marry Sachin Meena.
Jaweria's visa application was rejected twice. Third time lucky, Jaweria has been granted a 45-day visa and hopes the Indian government will extend it after the marriage.
Although an arranged marriage, it was love at first sight for Sameer.

In May 2018, his mother Nusrat Kamal Khan had shown him a photograph of a woman who lived across the border in Pakistan. She was her cousin Ghazala Khanum's daughter. Sameer, who stays in Park Circus, gave his consent.
"In 2018, I had come home during a break from Germany where I was studying when my mother showed me Jaweria's photo and I fell in love. I immediately agreed to the marriage proposal," he said.

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Given the hurdles posed by the diplomatic relations between India and Pakistan, the families had travelled to Bangkok in February 2020 to facilitate a meeting between Jaweria and Sameer. There, the marriage was finalised. But everything fell apart when the pandemic struck.
After it ended and countries resumed processing visas, Jaweria, her father Azmat Khan, mother Ghazala and her siblings: sisters Sara and Qainat, and brother Taimur applied twice in 2022, in August and December, only to face rejection on both occasions. Desperate to solemnise the marriage, Jaweria applied alone this August. On November 23, she received the visa by courier. "I am excited about getting married but am also sad that my parents and sisters and brother won't be able to attend it," said Jaweria.

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Jaweria said she had grown up hearing good accounts of India from her father who had visited the country twice earlier.
Sameer's father Ahmad Kamal Khan, who has a leather business, had settled in Kolkata 53 years ago after the family shifted from UP. "I have two sons. With Jaweria's arrival, I now have a daughter. She's