The External Affairs Minister of India has turned into an international favourite after her series of accomplishments from her position. From rescuing imprisoned Indian men to sorting visa problems, Sushma Swaraj has played a key role in making India’s international relations better after coming to the post. And the most recent deed of hers has not just won Indian hearts, but those from Pakistan as well! The age old rival at the border hardly seems to acknowledge the good factors in India, but this time Sushma Swaraj has made the stones feel, and feel good.
Sushma Swaraj recently made an announcement that she has granted a medical visa for a boy from Pakistan, as well as four individuals who seek emergency medical treatments from India. The External Affairs Ministry has instructed the Indian Embassy in Pakistan to issue the required visas to the prescribed Pakistani members.
This incident happened following a tweet made by a Pakistani to Sushma Swaraj. Shajib Iqbal, a relative of one of the Pakistani nationalists who sought the visa tweeted to her stating “You are our only hope after Allah. Kindly instruct the Indian Embassy at Islamabad to issue us an Indian visa.” Sushma Swaraj herself replied to his tweet stating “We shall never let down your hopes. Visa will be granted immediately.”
Also issuing visa to a 14 year old girl who needs to undergo an open-heart surgery in India, Sushma Swaraj has placed a slap on the Pakistani officials who had accused India of ‘politicising’ humanitarian issues. Huma Usman, the girl who was issued the visa was also wished a speedy recovery by Sushma Swaraj who responded to her brother’s tweet.
Huma Usman, Tariq Hussain, Mubarak Ali and Sakina Yunis are the four Pakistani nationalists who have been issued quick medical visas by Sushma Swaraj. Each one of the nationalists and their families have expressed heartfelt gratitude to Sushma through twitter, stating that she has given them ‘new lives’. Tariq Hussain’s brother, Shahnawaz Qasmi also thanked the whole of India for being so considerate. Well, those Pakistanis who accused the External Affairs Ministry of India clearly need to review the steps taken by Sushma Swaraj for the welfare of Pakistani citizens. There has never been a time when humanitarian issues have been politicised by India; but the same cannot be said the other way round. Selective approval of visas for Pakistanis is not a political strategy, but an absolute necessity for India – considering the country’s past experiences with Pakistan.
More so, the sense of humanity displayed by Sushma Swaraj sends out a strong message that India is indeed on a higher position than the neighbour that calls it ‘political’, as validated by numerous instances from the past. Instances such as that of Sarabjit Singh and cross-border terrorism have left no space for sympathy, yet Indians have been considerate enough to display humanity. In that direction, Sushma Swaraj has been a bold yet considerate Minister who has taken highly calculated steps in dealing with Pakistan so far. We can also note that when Pakistani nationalists required medical visa for treatment in India on 15th of August, they were granted on humanitarian grounds.
Despite of such considerate behaviour on the part of Indian External Affairs Ministry, Pakistan has never missed a chance to offend the country. When a resident from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir required to undergo treatment in Delhi, he was made to seek a visa from India. However, answering to that, Sushma Swaraj has clearly stated that the Pakistan government has no role to play through recommendations with regard to Kashmiris’ lives. All of Kashmir belongs to India, and a resident of Kashmir does not require a visa to visit Indian states.
Sushma Swaraj time and again proves that she is a perfect choice for the position she holds today. Her accomplishments as an External Affairs Minister makes us proud of her, and we hope she keeps her legacy of humanism based tactfulness intact.