Contrary to claims made by Pakistan nationals that they do not get visa for accessing health care in India, Indian authorities put forward statistics, showing that the number of Indian visas issued Pakistani patients has substantially gone up compared to previous years.
According to the Indian High Commission, there has been a 20% increase in the issuance of medical visa to Pakistan nationals. Last year, around 6,000 people had flown to India for treatment not available in Pakistan.
It’s an open secret that for high-end medical procedures, people of Pakistan fly to different countries, including India. However, most of the time, people blame the Indian High Commission for denial of medical visa.
“A totally wrong picture has been projected. In fact, we are the only country that pays special attention to treatment-related visa applications and clears them within two to three days if the documentation is proper. The main document we require is a doctor’s certificate mentioning the line of treatment for the person applying for a medical visa. Depending on the doctor’s advice, we issue such visas,” said Indian deputy high commissioner Gopal Baglay.
He went on to add: “Most of the people visit Delhi, Chennai and Mumbai for treatments like liver transplant, IVF and paediatric cardiac procedure , etc. Almost every year, we see a 20% rise in the granting of medical visas. There are some people who say they have been denied medical visas even without applying for them.”
Dr Amit Patki, IVF specialist from Khar, said: “I once visited Lahore for delivering a lecture on IVF.
Generally, we see three to four cases from Pakistan every month. But a lot more people want to come to India for treatment. However, they always complain about the visa issue. I don’t know the reality, but whenever a Pakistani patient needs a medical certificate for visa, we issue the same.
People who get visas come for a specific period, receive treatment and go back.”
Recently, 40-year-old Pakistan national Mohammed Zubair Ashmi arrived in Chennai with a body close to giving up. He came with the hope that he would be able to survive with the help of Indian medical care. Ashmi, who was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy — a condition in which the heart becomes so weak and enlarged that it begins to affect the supply of blood to the lungs, the liver and other organs — was saved, thanks to the prompt heart transplant at a Fortis Mallar hospital in Chennai. Ashmi worked as a religious teacher at a mosque in Kharian tehsil of Pakistan’s Gujrat district.
Dr Nirmal Surya, consultant neurologist, Bombay Hospital, said: “I’ve treated seven to eight people from Pakistan who came for stroke treatment.