Such is the mistrust and paranoia surrounding Pakistan and its citizens that a 31-year-old Pakistani, who underwent a successful surgery in a Bangalore hospital, is about to leave India with mixed feelings after being severely inconvenienced by the city police and humiliated by hotels which refused to provide accommodation.
Imran Qureshi, a Karachi-based businessman, arrived in Bangalore a month ago along with his brother on a medical visa to undergo stem therapy for advanced avascular necrosis of the hip, a painful condition which left him wheelchair-bound. But before the surgery, there lay the formidable obstacles in the form of police and the paperwork at foreigners regional registration office (FRRO).
That was not all. As Qureshi discovered to his utter disbelief, hotels in the city refused to take him in.
“Since I am from Pakistan, I could not get accommodation in hotels,” lamented Qureshi, who was forced to stay in the private hospital where he was scheduled to undergo surgery.
To add to his woes, he was asked to report to the police station in faraway Electronics City in person; and with Qureshi being wheelchair-bound, it was a painful experience.
Emphasising the need for police cooperation and support for patients coming from Pakistan, Dr HN Nagaraj, chairman and managing director, LIVE 100 Hospital, said he had to make arrangements to send Qureshi to Electronics City police station and FRRO for verification. “It is not fair for the police to ask the patient to come to the police station. I had to send Qureshi in an ambulance to the police station and also FRRO,’’ he said.
Dr Nagaraj said though patients from all countries had to undergo police verification process, the process is a little bit different for patients from Pakistan.
“Patients from other countries need not to go to police station and the FRRO personally. Patients’ relatives can do the job, but it’s not the same when it comes to patients from Pakistan,” explained Dr Nagaraj.
He said the police personnel from Electronics City police station made Qureshi wait for three hours. “Later, they asked him to go to the FRRO, but by the time they reached the office it was closed. Qureshi and his brother had to go to the FRRO office the next day,’’ the doctor said.
“I am a patient. I wanted to stay for post-surgery care, but circumstances here are not conducive for me to stay one more month. I am yet to get a SIM card even after a month,’’ Qureshi said.
According to Qureshi, he came to Bangalore after researching on the internet about possible options for the surgery. “I had discussions with patients who successfully underwent treatment in India. I contacted the Bangalore Institute of Regenerative Medicine and sent them my medical records. After discussions, I was convinced that I should try my luck in India. It was a hard decision. I left for India just two days after my daughter was born,’’ he said.
Bhaskar Vokkaliga, police inspector, Electronics City Police Station, was not available for comment.