Indian high commissioner TCA Raghavan will meet a hearing and speech impaired Indian woman who has been stranded in Pakistan for at least 15 years to explore the possibility of her repatriation, officials said on Tuesday.
In a post on Twitter, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said: “Indian High Commissioner in Pakistan Dr TCA Raghavan is reaching Karachi and will meet Geeta today.”
Indian High Commissioner in Pakistan Dr.TCA Raghavan is reaching Karachi and will meet Geeta today.— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) August 4, 2015
Geeta now lives with Bilqees Edhi, the wife of Abdul Sattar Edhi, founder of Edhi Foundation, Pakistan’s largest and best-known charity.
On Monday, Swaraj had asked the Indian envoy to meet the woman, whom Karachi-based rights activist Bilqees Edhi christened Geeta because no one knows her real name.
Leading rights activist and Pakistan’s former human rights minister Ansar Burney has launched a fresh campaign to reunite the woman with her family in India.
The renewed push was inspired by the success of the Bollywood film Bajrangi Bhaijaan, which features Salman Khan overcoming all odds to take a deaf and mute girl back to her relatives in Pakistan.
Burney, who will be in India in September to meet the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, acknowledged the fresh effort to find the woman’s parents was because of the success of the film in both countries.
He jokingly said it seemed the Bollywood film was inspired by his efforts in 2012 to find Geeta’s family during a visit to India. “My trust has started a cross-border campaign to try and find Geeta's relatives so that she can be handed over to them," Burney told Hindustan Times.
Bilqees Edhi said: “The girl, whose age is about 22 to 24, keeps telling me through gestures that she wants to fly back home in an aeroplane. Sometimes, she cries a lot. I pray to Allah that she is reunited with her family soon.”
The woman apparently entered the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore on a train from India almost 15 years ago. She was found by police and sent to a state-run shelter.
Geeta’s inability to communicate caused a lot of frustration and she was moved from one welfare home to another as she often tried to escape and quarrelled with staff.