PESHAWAR: Every brick laid for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects seems to bring people from the two countries closer together.
And while marriages between Chinese women and Pakistani men is not uncommon anymore, marriages amongst co-workers while working over CPEC projects is few and far between and shows how the increased interaction between people of the two countries results in blossoming of love and fostering closer ties.
Their marriage ceremony was held in the federal capital over the weekend and was attended by a host of senior diplomats and other distinguished guests, including China’s Deputy Chief of Mission Lijian Zhao.
The deputy chairperson of a Chinese construction company Bella (the senior Chinese engineer) and the chief executive officer of the same company Umer Farooq, who worked together to first build the Islamabad International Airport and are now working on building the Multan-Sukkur Motorway, tied the knot.
Umer’s father, Malik Rashid Farooq told The Express Tribune said that they long wanted his son to get married but whenever they brought up the subject, he would find ways to change the topic, pointing out that his hectic work schedule did not allow time for it.
A conservative family hailing from Dera Ismail Khan with traditional values, Rashid noted that Umer’s younger brother has already started his family and that they very much wanted Umer to do so as well.
Hence, he said that it came as a pleasant surprise when Umer said he was ready to get married but they were not expecting that the bride would be his Chinese co-worker
“Since the Chinese are time-tested friends and an ally for the economic and defence development of our country, the marriage will supplement an already strong friendship between the two countries,” Rashid said while expressing his sentiments over the newly built relationship.
While they were clear in their intentions, when it came time to address the technical and legal nitty-gritty of the union, it proved to be an uphill task.
Love marriage rate in Islamabad goes up by over 100%
She had to embrace Islam before anything, Rashid said, pointing to their staunchly devout and conservative roots. Then, he said, they had to convince the girl’s parents in China that Umer was not only a good match but that Pakistan was a safe and secure place.
Then there was the issue of a union between two people from two wildly differing backgrounds. Rashid said that they understood this fact and knew that they had to respect the relationship and that it will take time for both sides to learn more about the other.
“Now, we are happy and the parents of the girl are also satisfied with their daughter marrying a Pakistani man,” Rashid said, adding that Umer’s in-laws too had flown down from China and got to see Pakistan for a few days.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 18th, 2019.
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