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March 3, 2018
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Parents of ailing two-year-old plead for Indian medical visas

Karachi

March 3, 2018

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With each passing night since late December last year, 32-year-old Jawwad and his wife have been earnestly hoping for a phone call confirming their Indian visas so their ailing two-year-old Maier can be taken to Noida, India for surgery.

“A few months ago, we were told of our son’s medical condition regarding his cardiac issue, and we took him to Aga Khan University Hospital, where Dr Mehnaz Attique recommended treatment in Noida, India, under Dr Rajesh Sharma, who specialises as a paeds cardiac surgeon,” said Jawwad.

Dr Sharma took keen interest in the case and issued the medical letter for visas, after which the father completed the prerequisites and filed an application. However, there wasn’t any response.

“Dr Mehnaz had urged us to take our son to Noida as soon as possible because his condition would only deteriorate with time, and would soon start affecting his other organs,” he sighed. “Upon delay regarding the issuance of visas, Dr Sharma sent a medical letter again on February 5, hoping to speed up the process, but now March has begun and we are still awaiting a response from the Interior Ministry of India.”

The worried father has also attempted to reach Sushma Swaraj, Indian minister of

external affairs, on social media because of her previous record of issuing visas to many Pakistanis who were in need of medical treatment.

Explaining Maier’s ailment, his mother said her son has Tetralogy of Fallot, which comprises four hindrances including a hole in the heart, an obstruction from heart to lungs, placement of blood vessel aorta and thickening of a muscle surrounding lower right chamber.

“It’s not easy to wait each day. We do not stick to any routine because my son requires special attention. Almost all parents can’t see their children cry, but in our case the severity is such that if he cries, he would have issues in breathing so we have to be very cautious about everything.

“He loves farm animals and has a fascination with the word purple because he has recently learnt it, but sadly we can’t let him play with them as long as he desires, because getting tired can be dangerous for him, which is why we want to hurry with the treatment so he may not be wary of our restrictions. He is just a child who can’t comprehend the limitations, after all,” she said ruefully.

Referring to the countless medical applications received by the visa office, Jawwad said that when he had gone to submit his, there were five other people who also wished to visit India for medical purposes. “One must not think that only Pakistanis apply for medical visas in India; rather, Sri Lankans, Bangladeshis and Afghans, who are wealthy enough, head to India because the success rate is higher there, especially with cases of children,” he pointed out.

“All we can do is try and hope that we get the visa so our son may get well. Every day, I get up and wait for my phone to ring and sleep with the hope that it will definitely ring tomorrow, because it’s not easy to rest knowing that your child is sick. I plead with all authorities to grant us the medical visas because I just want Maier to be healthy again,” Jawwad smiled sadly, as he shifted his gaze from his son’s yellow four-wheel cycle to his phone.

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