A widower of seven children married a woman in the Nishtar Hospital ward No24 on Wednesday afternoon.
Hospital staff gathered to celebrate a unique function, as widower Muhammad Ashraf married Mumtaz Bibi inside the hospital in the presence of his children. “I was one of the witnesses at the wedding and it was oddly touching,” said Ashraf’s doctor Dr Rasheed Hassan.
Hospital staff told reporters that the father of seven children, Ashraf had been engaged to marry Mumtaz Bibi on April 13 and the date had been set for April 26. A day before the wedding was scheduled Ashraf was in a terrible motorcycle accident and broke his leg and fractured his left arm. “His children have been in the hospital waiting on him with Mumtaz who has been taking care of him,” said a nurse, Aleena. “They insisted they would get married on the scheduled day and the registrar came to the ward and performed the wedding here,” she said. Mumtaz said that she was recently divorced. “I was a good friend of his wife and after she died I helped take care of his children for several years. We fell in love and after years of trying to ignore it we finally decided to get married,” she said. Ashraf said that people in his community had criticised him for causing Mumtaz’s divorce and for marrying her. “I don’t care what anyone says. My children love her and I love her so we got married,” he said.
Several Ghazi Ghat residents, who were Ashraf’s neighbours came to wish the couple well. Nurses said that the ward was flooded with visitors all day and that the other patients also celebrated the wedding.
Ashraf is a day labourer and his children distributed sweets among patients in different wards of the hospital. “He had already employed us to decorate his house for the wedding but his children called us and told us to come to the hospital. We decorated his hospital bed and the windows of the ward,” said caterer Saleemullah.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 28th, 2011.
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