WASHINGTON: Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States, Jalil Abbas Jilani says the issue pertaining to the visa status of Shahzaib Bajwa will be resolved soon.
Pakistani student Shahzaib Bajwa, 20, has been in a coma since last November when a deer struck a car carrying him and friends from the city of Minneapolis back to the University of Wisconsin-Superior where he was spending a semester abroad.
Ambassador Jilani told Geo News he was in contact with the US State Department over the visa issue. He added that Shahzaib’s visa may be extended or the status changed.
"We are willing to provide any help we can to the family. The current focus is to secure visa for Shahzaib," Jilani said.
The US State Department said it wanted to “ensure the student receives the best care.”
“Our hearts go out to the injured student and his family during this difficult time,” State Department spokesman Mark Thornburg said.
“His future treatment involves a number of factors that the family must weigh, and we are making every effort to offer as much flexibility as possible in maintaining his status while the family considers their options,” he said.
Shahzaib’s elder brother Shahraiz Bajwa told Geo News that the Pakistani government had not offered any monetary assistance nor had any fund been setup in Pakistan.
The elder Bajwa in conversation with AFP said the insurance policy provides $100,000 in coverage, which would be put towards treatment in Pakistan. The brother said that the insurance company has warned that it would not provide for Bajwa's transport home if the family did not agree to send him back.
Shahraiz Bajwa voiced fear that his brother would not find proper medical care in Pakistan, saying that for their mother to sign the insurance company's papers would be like “killing her son with her own hand.”
As of Friday, a fund-raising drive on the online site gofundme.com had generated more than $77,000 of the $100,000 goal.
More than 4,000 people have signed a petition on change.org urging the United States to extend Bajwa's visa “until he is back on his feet or at least stable enough to travel back to Pakistan without any risk to his life.”
Shahzaib was attending Lahore University of Management Sciences, where a professor described him as a liberal activist who co-founded the school's first ever feminist society. He was studying anthropology and sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Superior.