External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today announced that visas will be given to four Pakistani nationals to undergo treatment in India, three days after Islamabad accused India of “politicising” humanitarian issues. On Thursday, Pakistan had accused India of selectively issuing medical visa to its citizens and that it was not a gesture of compassion but “cold blooded politicking”. “India will not belie your hope. We will issue the visa immediately,” Swaraj said, responding to a request on her official Twitter handle for a medical visa by Pakistani national Shahzaib Iqbal for his cousin’s liver transplant in India. Swaraj also responded positively to requests for issuance of medical visas to three other Pakistani women. “This is urgent. Indian High Commission – pls issue the visa (sic),” she said in another tweet, replying to a request from Ghazanfar Ali for his mother’s liver transplant in India. To another request for a visa by Pakistani woman – Sajida Bakhsh, Swaraj said a visa will be issued to her. Bakhsh had tweeted that she had undergone a liver transplant in Haryana last year and wanted to visit India for follow-up treatment.
She also assured another Pakistani woman of granting visa on medical grounds. Swaraj has been adopting a humanitarian approach in granting visa to Pakistani nationals on medical grounds, notwithstanding the strain in ties between the two sides over a host of sticky issues, including cross-border terrorism. Addressing a regular briefing on Thursday, Pakistan’s foreign ministry spokesperson Mohammad Faisal had said the Indian policy of selective issuance of medical visas to Pakistani citizens was “regrettable”.