Two best friends across borders. One of the two is getting married in India but the one in Pakistan cannot attend the wedding just because there is tension among the two countries. Sounds something like a Yash Raj movie script? Well, this isn’t a movie script but a real story! The two New York-based journalists – Purvi Thacker from India and Sarah Munir from Pakistan met in 2011 while attending Columbia Journalism School’s graduate programme. Few years later, after returning home, Purvi was engaged to be married, and Sarah was to be the maid of honour. The friends couldn’t be happier, and as ecstatic as they were, they knew there was a lot of paperwork and visa formalities to be completed. So they got to it, without wasting any time. Little did they know, that the tension between the nations would impact their lives. So, despite all the papers in place, Sarah’s visa to attend Purvi’s wedding in December in India was rejected, and they weren’t given any reason.
“So my Indian visa to attend @purvi21’s wedding was rejected. Accepting all help, prayers and good vibes now,” Sarah tweeted first.
So my Indian visa to attend @purvi21‘s wedding was rejected. Accepting all help, prayers and good vibes now.
— Sarah Munir (@SarahMunir1) November 1, 2016
Purvi then went on Twitter to say: “I’m Indian. My bff @SarahMunir1 is Pakistani. Who can help get her a visa for my wedding in India in Dec? #humanbonds Cc @SushmaSwaraj”. Sushma Swaraj who is known for her prompt help to those who tweet her with visa difficulties and similar issues hasn’t yet responded to Purvi’s tweet.
— Purvi Thacker (@purvi21) November 1, 2016
Tensions between India and Pakistan have been running high since the cross-border Uri terror attack of September 18. Following the attack that killed 19 soldiers, India retaliated with surgical strikes on seven terrorist-training camps in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir. This was the context in which Munir’s India visa was rejected. “It’s extremely sad that even though we have never let religion, nationalities , our shared history and even cricket come between us, incidents like this repeatedly make us feel like we should…We understand that our countries shared history has huge economic and political implications, but it also takes a toll on normal mundane things like human relationships and connections. Nobody thinks about that. Being friends and being there for each other should not be this hard just because we were born on different sides of the borders,” wrote Thacker on Facebook.
Purvi and Sarah have started a social media campaign to #GetSarahToIndia. From Facebook posts to tweeting to Sushma Swaraj (whose reply we still await), these friends are doing their best to change a situation. We sincerely hope Sarah is able to attend Purvi’s wedding in December! Fingers crossed!