Dawn – India denies medical visa to Pakistani woman seeking cancer treatment

Saifullah Cheema

Islamabad, 7 July 2017. The Indian Embassy has rejected the medical visa application of a 25-year-old Pakistani tumour patient who was due to travel to India for treatment, citing deteriorating relations between the two countries as the reason for refusal, the patient’s mother told DawnNews on Friday.

Inderprastha Dental College and Hospital (IDCH) in Ghaziabad was to provide surgical treatment to Faiza Tanveer for a recurrent ameloblastoma, a cancerous oral tumour which is aggressive in nature, according to documents acquired by DawnNews.

The hospital had invited Tanveer and her mother Parveen Akhtar to India for treatment, requesting a 20-day medical visa for the duration of their stay in the country, the documents said.

Akhtar said the pair were told by local medical professionals that chemotherapy would be challenging as the target area is a particularly sensitive one, given the close proximity to her ears, nose and eyes.

They were told that Jinnah Hospital would be able to perform chemotherapy, but Tanveer’s eyeball would need to be removed for the process, which Tanveer and her mother were unwilling to opt for.

Treatment in India is cheaper than in the United States or Singapore, Akhtar said, adding that it was why they chose to apply there for treatment.

IDCH had quoted the cost of treatment to come to about $20,000, and Tanveer’s classfellows had raised Rs 1.6 million for the Lahori’s treatment, Akhtar said, adding that they had deposited Rs 1m with IDCH already.

However, due to the rejection of the visa application, Tanveer will be unable to avail treatment in India.

Akhtar said embassy officials informed her it was possible she may be able to acquire a medical visa if the Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz wrote a letter to India’s Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj regarding the matter.

She appealed to politicians in both countries to help facilitate her daughter’s visa application.



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