Prime Minister Narendra Modi has completed two years in power, but his promise of “accommodating” Hindu migrants from Pakistan remains unfulfilled. A young Pakistani student, who dreams of becoming a doctor, is one of the many feeling the pinch of the delay in government action.
Nineteen-year-old Mashal Maheshwari, who moved with her family to Jaipur from Hyderabad in Pakistan’s Sindh province two years ago, wants to appear for the All India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT) exam but is ineligible to apply. There are only two categories under which aspirants can apply for the AIPMT – Indian citizen or NRI. “My parents are doctors and I would like to follow in their footsteps. My dream is to save lives and serve people, but I don’t fit the criteria,” says Mashal.
Mashal’s parents quit their jobs in Pakistan and moved to India in June 2014. The family is residing here on a long-term visa. “Though we were well-off there, we were concerned about our security,” says Dr Nirmala, Mashal’s mother, who works at a private hospital.
Mashal’s 91% score in the CBSE Class 12 examinations seemed to have brought her a step closer to realising her AIPMT dream. But that’s when she hit the nationality roadblock.
Her family wrote to chief minister Vasundhara Raje and state health minister Rajendra Rathore, but to no avail. Following this, Mashal placed a request on the Prime Minister’s portal.
Private medical colleges are not an option for Mashal because they are too expensive. “We can’t afford a donation of Rs 1 crore when our combined salary is just Rs 60,000,” says Nirmala.
Hindu Singh Sodha of the Seemant Lok Sangathan, an NGO, says the 15,000 Pakistani Hindus living in Rajasthan are unable to access basic facilities or take up jobs because they don’t have Indian documents.