KARACHI: A Pakistani woman campaigning to secure Indian visas for her ailing husband and herself on social media says there is no progress on the account.
Banker Aleem Junejo was being treated at Karachi’s Liaquat National Hospital when he developed bronchiectasis and suffered permanent lung damage. Aleem was then counselled to get a lung transplant abroad after. He was ultimately diagnosed with primary cilliary dyskinesia, also known as Kartagener’s syndrome.
The two then applied for an Indian visa in vain with their application being rejected twice. Aleem’s wife Maria told The Express Tribune she had first moved an application on June 1. She said the Indian High Commission rejected the application on July 5. Maria, who works at a Karachi school, said they were told that the application could not be processed and encouraged to reapply.
Maria said they applied for a second time the next day. ‘It has been over two weeks and there’s been no progress.’ Maria said she could not fathom why this was the case. “Bangalore police also visited Global Hospital. There was no issue. I then contacted the Indian High Commission via email enquiring the same.”
She then received a call from an Indian High Commission official who informed her that visas were not granted to those seeking lung transplants. Later, Maria referred the man to the Bangalore hospital’s international patient department.
Maria, who had been trying to reach Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj earlier, said she had stopped doing so. Her social media campaign, on the other hand, has tasted greater success. Maria told The Express Tribune she had done so to raise awareness about their plight.
My husband, Aleem Haider passport no AU8784251 needs to get heart and lungs transplant from @Gleneagles_GH banglore asap. We have applied for the visa second time and are still waiting. Can we please be helped?? @SushmaSwaraj
— Maria (@Maria35752813) July 19, 2018
#SushmaSwaraj ma'am… this is the condition of my husband now. Please help us issue his medical visa. He is mentally and physically losing his grip on life. His heart has got so weak. If we don't reach there on time, they might not do anything for us@SushmaSwaraj please ma'am pic.twitter.com/fLpj4UJd81
— Maria (@Maria35752813) June 24, 2018
@iamsrk sir we need indian medical visa for my husband's heart and lungs transplant urgently. Unfortunately due to some policy, @IndiainPakistan are not giving us visa. Will u plz request mam @SushmaSwaraj to grant us special permission? pic.twitter.com/DAjTFsFVay
— Maria (@Maria35752813) July 21, 2018
Supporters have been continuously posting about the couple’s ordeal in order to get Aleem his medical visa.
— Prasanth Mandava (@_geef_nooit_op) July 22, 2018
Maria said the couple were striving to proceed to India as healthcare was more affordable there. “In India, the surgery costs PKR8 million. Similar procedures cost upwards PKR40 and PKR100 million in China and the West respectively.”
While Aleem’s condition is stable for now, the gravity of the situation cannot be understated. “He is on oxygen continuously. His condition has also impacted his heart, causing it to increase in size. Aleem is at increased risk of heart failure.”
Nafeesa Begum, 62, is the first patient to undergo this operation
Generous donations were made by philanthropist Dr. Sohail Tanveer