Poverty coming in the way of Pakistani brides' reunion with Indian husbands
- Mahendra Singh Girab has been hoping to be joined by his wife for the past four years. He said he was thankful to the government for considering their cases on humanitarian grounds but at the same time stated that they cannot afford to pay for their wives' travel by the air route.
Three Rajasthan residents have requested the Central government to grant visas to their Pakistani wives, enabling them to travel to India by the road route in view of their poor financial condition, which has prevented their wives to avail of the offer of visa by the Indian high commission through the air route, according to the affected residents.
These cross border couples, living separately on two different sides of the Indo-Pakistan border for at least past two years, were overjoyed when the Indian high commission agreed to give their wives visas to travel to join their husbands via air routes. On February 9, officials of the Indian high commission in Pakistan asked the women to submit documents for visa, which they stated, will be valid for travel through the air route.
A week passed since then but the brides in Pakistan did not submit the documents. Reason is simple- the families can’t afford to travel by air.
Mahendra Singh Girab, a resident of Khejad Ka Paar in Barmer, who got married to a Pakistani girl in April 2017 and Vikarm Singh and Nehpal Singh of Baiyaa village in Jaisalmer district, who married Pakistani girls in January 2019, have now requested Union agriculture minister for state Kailash Choudhary for help in procuring a changed visa type from the external affairs ministry.
"We have again approached the Union minister Kailash Choudhary and urged him to help us in getting permission (to travel) via road route. It would be a great help,” said Vikarm, who is hoping to see his newly-born daughter soon.
Mahendra Singh Girab, who has been hoping to be joined by his wife for the past four years, told HT he was thankful to the government for considering their cases on humanitarian grounds but at the same time stated that they cannot afford to pay for their wives' travel by the air route.
Vikarm told HT that it was minister Kailash Choudhary, whose efforts resulted in the in-principle grant of visas to their wives. "We have again approached the Union minister and urged him to help us in getting permission to travel via the road route. It would be a great help,” said Vikarm.
Choudhary said he had written to the external affairs ministry to take these cases on humanitarian grounds.
"Now the family members have again approached me to arrange them a road route (visa) citing financial reasons. I am trying to help the families in all possible manners,” said Choudhary.
27-year-old Nehpal Singh Bhati and his 25-year-old sibling Vikarm Singh Bhati got married across the border in January 2019. After their marriages, both stayed in Pakistan for close to three months before returning to India without their brides, who were denied visas on technical grounds, they claimed.
Nehpal was married to the daughter of Ranjeet Singh Sodha on January 22, 2019, while Vikarm wed the daughter of Taneraj Singh Sodha on January 25, 2019.
In December, last year, Vikarm’s wife delivered a boy but till this day, he hasn’t been able to see his son in person and has been content catching a glimpse of him on video calls.
Mahendra Singh Girab’s wife is from Sinoi village in Amarkot district of Sindh. She was also allegedly denied a visa by the Indian consulate after marriage to Girab in 2017.
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