External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj in Indore on Monday praised the Pakistan government for its “impeccable cooperation” in easing the way for Geeta’s return and termed it as a benchmark in the Indo-Pak relations.
Geeta had strayed across the border in Pakistan some 15 years as a child. The speech and hearing impaired Geeta made an emotional return to India recently to be reunited with the family she has identified from a photograph. She is staying at the Indore Deaf Bilingual Academy till she is reunited with her parents.
Swaraj said that a similar approach would be adopted in the case of Pakistan boy Ramzan and assured his reunion with his mother soon. On Sunday, she met Ramzan, who is at a Childline shelter in Bhopal for the past two years.
The minister was in the city on Monday to address a press conference at the Indore Deaf Bilingual Academy (IDBA), where Geeta is staying.
Swaraj also praised Bilquis Bano, a member of the Edhi foundation, which had shot to fame for showing a rare compassion to Geeta while her stay in Pakistan. Bano was recently conferred the Mother Teresa Memorial International Award for Social Justice 2015.
Swaraj said, “They (the foundation) have raised the humanitarian levels for the entire world. The way they took care of Geeta, ensuring that no damage is done to her belief is commendable.”
She said that all efforts were being made to look for Geeta’s parents. “Not a day passes when we don’t get any letters from families claiming to be Geeta’s parents. But unless and until it gets proved through a DNA sampling we will not handover Geeta to them,” she said.
Mentioning that new ways were being worked out by the institute and on her part as well to help Geeta’s parents recognise her, she said. “I asked Monica Punjabi (manager of IDBA ) to try and ask Geeta to recollect her childhood memories. Tell us about the way she kept her hair as at times a haircut does alter a person’s entire appearance,” said Swaraj.
Refusing to comment on any international issue, Swaraj said that she was happy that Geeta had found a family here in the institute.