External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj on Monday came to the aid of a Jaipur-based Pakistani teenage girl seeking to appear for medical entrance exam in India.
Mashal Maheshwari, 19, had sought Indian government’s help to allow her to appear in the All-India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT). Swaraj assured her admission in a medical college in Karnataka.
After her case was reported widely by the media, Swaraj tweeted on Monday, “Mashal, don’t be disappointed my child, I will personally take up your case for admission in a medical college.”
Mashal and her mother Dr Nirmala Maheshwari spoke to Swaraj. After speaking to Swaraj, Mashal’s delighted mother said, “We were not expecting such a quick response. I am happy that finally our plea has been heard. We would like to thank prime minister Narendra Modi, Sushma Swaraj and the media for their support.”
Nirmala said Swaraj assured Mashal’s admission in Karnataka but she would prefer Rajasthan or Gujarat, as it would be closer to home.
An overjoyed Mashal said, “We were not aware about the minister’s tweet. We got to know through the media and then we spoke to her. She asked about my education, family details and for my documents.”
Mashal, who scored 91% in the CBSE Class 12 examinations wanted to appear for the AIPMT exam but was ineligible to apply as she did not fall in either of the categories under which aspirants can apply – Indian citizen and NRI.
After her CBSE results, the family pursued Mashal’s case to appear in the AIPMT with the Rajasthan and the central government.
Her family wrote to chief minister Vasundhara Raje and to the union ministries of home and health but to no avail. Mashal had also placed a request on the Prime Minister’s portal.
Mashal’s parents, who are doctors, quit their jobs in Hyderabad in Pakistan’s Sindh province and moved to India in June 2014 due to security concerns. The family is residing in Jaipur on a long-term visa.
Hindu Singh Sodha of the Seemant Lok Sangathan, an NGO that works with Pakistani Hindu migrants, appreciated Swaraj’s gesture but said the central government should put in place a legal framework.
“Mashal’s is not an isolated case. There are many Pakistani Hindus who face a similar problem as they don’t have documents. The government should have a legal framework so it will help others too,” Sodha asserted.