Sushma Swaraj taking liberal approach in issuing visas to Pakistani patients

Sushma Swaraj taking liberal approach in issuing visas to Pakistani patients
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj of late helped several critically ill patients from Pakistan get visas to visit India and seek medical treatment – signalling a change in New Delhi's policy.

New Delhi took a more liberal approach in issuing visas to Pakistani patients seeking to undergo treatment in India, particularly after M Nawaz Sharif resigned as the Prime Minister of the neighbouring country in July this year. After being approached on Twitter by the near and dear ones of several critically ill patients in Pakistan, Swaraj asked High Commission of India in Islamabad to issue visas to them.

“We are giving visa for your father's liver transplant surgery in India,” Swaraj tweeted in response to a post by Ali Asadullah Shah of Pakistan on Twitter.

Shah wanted a visa for his father Shabbir Ahmed Shah to undergo liver transplant surgery at Max Super Speciality Hospital at Saket in New Delhi. He also wanted a visa for himself, another attendant Haq Nawaz Shah and the donor Muhammad Abdullah Shah.

“Respected Ma'am, please grant us visa. My father needs a liver transplant. He's in very severe condition. This is our last hope,” Shah tweeted to Swaraj, who later got the High Commission of India in the capital of Pakistan

Her prompt interventions earned accolades not only from critically ill patients and their near and dear ones in Pakistan but also from the Twitterati in the neighbouring country.

“Good. Thanks a Lot..This is a great gesture by india..We Pakistani Give u (you) huge applause on it. Stay Blessed,” Waqas Amjad, a resident of Lahore in Pakistan, tweeted to her after she responded positively to a request by Hamid Ali Ashraf for issuing visas for his father to visit India for liver transplant surgery.

”Madam Minister, you are Masiha (a Saint) for Pakistani people. God Bless you,” posted Shakil Ahmed, another Twitterti from the neighbouring country.

New Delhi earlier this year restricted grant of visas to Pakistanis seeking to undergo medical treatment in India, particularly after a military court in the neighbouring country sentenced Kulbhushan Jadhav, a former Indian Navy officer, to death. New Delhi insisted that all applications for medical visas for citizens of Pakistan seeking to come to India must be accompanied by a recommendation from Sartaj Aziz, who had been her counterpart of Swaraj in Sharif's Government in Islamabad.

Aziz, however, had not issued any letter of recommendation to Pakistanis seeking medical visas to travel to India. He had also quit the top job at the Ministry of Foreign Office of Pakistan Government after Sharif had resigned in July following orders from the Supreme Court of the neighbouring country about the “Panama Papers”.

Sharif was succeeded by Shahid Khaqan Abbasi who took over as Prime Minister in July. Khwaja Asif replaced Aziz as the Foreign Minister.
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