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.
Supporters have been continuously posting about the couple’s ordeal in order to get Aleem his medical visa.
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.”