Awan is a former deputy mayor of Muzaffarabad.
Awan was just three years old when his family was torn apart
Speaking to TOI over the phone from Pakistan, Awan said his mother, Aatam Kaur, who hailed from Pattika Sikhan village (now in PoK), had a “love marriage” with his father, Mohammed Ayub, against their families’ wishes at the start of Partition. He hoped his plea for help to both the Indian and Pakistani governments would not go unheeded.
“My mother accepted Islam and changed her name to Shamim Akhter. However, following the Liaquat-Nehru Pact signed in 1950, which termed forceful conversions null and void, my mother was forcefully taken from Muzaffarabad to Jammu, and later to Dehradun with other refugees in 1956,” said Awan, who was just three years old when the family was torn apart.
“My brother and I were too young to understand what was going on. Within a year, my father passed away. We were raised by our paternal grandmother. She told me my mother converted back to Sikhism, later giving birth to our sister, Joginder Kaur,” Awan recounted. “I long to see my mother and sister or at least hear their voices before I die.”
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