In yet another instance of living up to the promise she made on Independence Day, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday issued a visa to an ailing Pakistani child seeking open heart surgery in India.
“Yes, we are allowing visa for your 7-year-old daughter’s open heart surgery in India,” Sushma Swaraj tweeted in response to a request by the girl’s mother Nida Shoaib.
“We also pray for her early recovery,” she said.
On the occasion of Independence Day, the Ministry of External Affairs announced that India would provide medical visas to all bona fide Pakistani patients.
In a tweet on August 15, Sushma Swaraj said: “On the auspicious occasion of India’s Independence day, we will grant medical visa in all bonafide cases pending with us.”
As ties between the two countries soured over various issues, the ministry announced in May that only a letter of recommendation by then Pakistan Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz will enable a Pakistani national to get a medical visa for India.
The action was termed “highly regrettable” by Islamabad, which said that asking for a letter from the Foreign Affairs Adviser was “against diplomatic norms” and that “such a requirement has not been prescribed for any other country”.
However, on July 18, a patient from Pakistan-administered Kashmir, seeking treatment in New Delhi for a liver tumour, was granted a visa. Sushma Swaraj said that he needed no recommendation from the Pakistan government for a medical visa because the territory is “an integral part of India”.
After her Independence Day statement, Sushma Swaraj ensured the issuance of a medical visa for a Pakistani baby, Rohaan, who was in critical condition, later during the month.