External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj has directed the Indian embassy in Indonesia to issue visa to a woman of Pakistani origin whose husband has to undergo liver transplant in India.
Source said the woman, Shafiqa Bano, made the request on Monday. The minister tweeted on Wednesday: “Shafiqa ji, please contact the Indian Embassy. I have asked them to issue visa for your husband’s liver transplant in Chennai.”
@SushmaSwaraj Thank you so much Sushma ji. You are the best. Really appreciate all your help. ☺👍— Mrs.Afzal (@shafiqabano) October 26, 2016
Swaraj is understood to have used her discretion to clear Bano’s visa request without referring it to the ministry of home affairs. On security grounds, the MHA’s nod is mandatory for visa clearances for Pakistanis, especially applications made in third countries by Pakistani nationals or people of Pak-origin.
The minister’s action was explained as a ‘humanitarian gesture’ to facilitate medical treatment for the family’s ailing member. Earlier this month, Swaraj had reached out to a group of Pakistani girls visiting Chandigarh for a peace conference and reassured them of their security, amid cross-border tensions following India’s surgical strikes against terrorists across the Line of Control. “Betiyan sabki sanji hoti hain,” Swaraj had told the delegation’s leader.
Her actions apparently are in conformity with the government’s approach, as brought out in the PM’s recent speech in Kerala, to distinguish the people of Pakistani from its establishment.