Reacting to a report in The Indian Express, Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj has said that the Indian government will grant a medical emergency visa to a man living in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) whose case was stuck in a bureaucratic process. The minister said since PoK is an integral part of India which has been illegally occupied by Pakistan, India will grant the medical visa and that no letter was required for it.
Rawalakot resident Osama Ali, 24, was diagnosed with cancer of the liver and had been accepted as a patient in a private hospital in south Delhi. The doctors have suggested a liver transplant and the family wants to get the procedure done in India as it is the cheapest here and they don’t have the means to get it done in Europe or other developed countries.
Osama’s family, however, was not able to secure the visa as Sartaj Aziz, Pakistan Prime Minister’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs, was not willing to write a letter to the Indian High Commission in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad recommending that Osama be given a medical emergency visa. On July 10, Swaraj had made such a letter conditional for these visas.
POK is an integral part of India. Pakistan has illegally occupied it. We are giving him visa. No letter required. https://t.co/cErxQw7Cht
— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) July 18, 2017
Osama’s father Javed Naz Khan, a lawyer in Rawalakot and a worker of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), told The Indian Express: The Foreign Ministry said it was not the policy for Aziz Sahib to write the letter. The practice is for the Secretary in charge of the South Asia desk to write a letter, but we have learnt that the Indian High Commission has rejected some visas with these recommendations. I appeal to India to give a medical visa to my son without the letter.”
Swaraj has earlier slammed Aziz as being discourteous for not acknowledging her letter seeking a visa for the mother of Kulbhushan Jadhav–the Indian national who has been sentenced to death in Pakistan on charges of espionage and attempting to destabilise Pakistan.
In a series of tweets on July 10, Swaraj had said: “Sympathies for all Pakistan nationals seeking medical visa for their treatment in India. I am sure Mr Sartaj Aziz also has consideration for the nationals of his country. I see no reason why should he hesitate to give his recommendation for nationals of his own country.”
India is a popular medical tourism destination and patients from across the world visit to take benefit of the medical infrastructure in the country which is one of the best in the world with one of the largest pool of doctors and specialists.