NEW DELHI, Dec. 1: A 15-month-old Pakistani girl recuperating in a Noida hospital may well be the most eloquent testimony to India’s open-heartedness in the face of the chill that has set in ties between the neighbouring countries.
Eight months ago, when Shireen Shiraz’s parents, Karachi’s Shiraz Ahmed and his wife Hira, brought her to India for a heart operation, getting visas was not much of a problem. But last month, when they had to come again for a more complex heart surgery, visas were hard to come by. And time was running out.
That was when Ahmed decided to open a Twitter account and appeal directly to Indian external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj. “I put out the appeal on the morning of October 18. Within a few hours, the minister responded and I got a call from the Indian High Commission saying the visas were being dispatched to me in Karachi,” Ahmed told ET.
“When we arrived at the Delhi airport, customs officials received us and got us a queue-less immigration so as not to waste any time,” he said. They were just in time for a second heart surgery at Noida’s Jaypee Hospital.
“The doctors say she will need a third heart surgery when she is 10 years old. I hope when we come then, India-Pakistan relations would have improved and visas would be easier to get,” said Shiraz’s mother, Hira. “People speak of India-Pakistan rivalry, but I only know that India gave life to my child,” she said.
ET spoke to a number of other Pakistani families who expressed similar sentiments after having received similar help from Swaraj. ET
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