India to issue medical visas to two Pakistanis

New Delhi: India will issue medical visas to a three-year-old and a man from Pakistan, both requiring urgent treatment, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has said, living up to her promise made on Independence Day.

“We are issuing visa for the open heart surgery of your three-year-old daughter in India. We also pray for her speedy recovery here,” Sushma Swaraj tweeted in response to a request by Lahore-based Uzair Humayun.

Replying to a tweet from another woman, Noorma Habib, Sushma Swaraj tweeted: “Yes, Noorma. We are allowing visa for the liver transplant of your father in India. We wish him a successful surgery and a long life.”

Last month too, India issued a medical visa to a Pakistani child seeking open heart surgery in India. On Independence Day, the External Affairs Ministry announced that India would provide medical visas to all bonafide Pakistani patients.

Sushma Swaraj had 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 violated diplomatic norms and such a requirement had not been prescribed for any other country.

However, on July 18, a patient from Pakistan-administered Kashmir, seeking treatment in New Delhi for liver tumour, got a visa. Sushma Swaraj said he needed no recommendation from the Pakistani government for a medical visa because the territory “is an integral part of India”.