Pakistani son in US unable to visit Indian mother who is on her deathbed
Born to an Indian mother in Pakistan while she was visiting relatives there in 1953, Mirza Ali Ismail, 65, is unable to get visa to see his 90-year-old parent who is on her deathbed
All Mirza Jaffer Ali Ismail, 65, wants is to spend time with his 90-year-old mother as she battles end-stage cancer. The problem is, while his mother is Indian, he is Pakistani by birth and American by citizenship. His mother is in Hyderabad, and Mirza is stuck in Atlanta, US, unable to get a visa to visit India for the past two weeks. Now, he's worried he might not get to meet her at all.
According to Mirza's family members here in India, their father had also been diagnosed with cancer and succumbed to the ailment in 1986. Mirza fears his mother, Amina, might also be in her final days. Mirza, who was born and brought up in Karachi, Pakistan, is now an American citizen and a resident of Atlanta, Georgia. He applied for a Indian visa around a fortnight ago, but has received no response from the Consulate General of India, Atlanta. Meanwhile, precious time is slipping away.
"My mother was recently admitted to Maxcure hospital in Hyderabad. But the doctors have given up hope and asked the family to take my mother home. I want to meet her before anything goes wrong," he said.
"I need to reach India at the earliest, or else I will always feel guilty that I did not make it in time to meet my mother," added the senior citizen. "I am not aware why I have not been given clearance for the visa," he said, adding that he had managed to get visas for himself, his wife and son in 2008, which was the last time he visited his mother in India.
Mirza (right) lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with his wife and son
US and BJP try to help
After he approached the American authorities to support his case, Renitta Shannon, Democratic member of the Georgia House of Representatives, wrote to Dr Swati Kulkarni, Consul General of India, Atlanta. She wrote: "I have known the family for some years. I am writing a letter in encouragement of providing Mirza an expedited visa to visit his sick mother."
But when even that didn't work, the family reached out to the ruling party, BJP, for help. Mirza wrote to Mack Ajani, president of the party's NRI cell in Mumbai. "We have received a letter from Mirza requesting help in getting visa clearance. It seems to be a genuine case that needs to be dealt with on priority. I will take up the issue with senior party leaders and the appropriate authority at the Ministry of External Affairs to ensure that the mother-son reunion happens at the earliest," said Ajani.
Fighting cancer himself
Mirza, who was employed at a gas station in the US, is now retired and facing a battle with cancer himself. This trip to India could not only be the last time he meets his mother, but also the final time his relatives get to see him, he fears. Amina, a resident of Pune, is currently at her elder son Abdulsultan's home in Hyderabad. "Our mother is bed-ridden and has been provided oxygen supply at home.
The doctors who treated her have issued a letter that clearly mentions her critical health status. The doctor has given a reference letter so that Mirza's the visa process can be expedited. Her condition has deteriorated further and her health doesn't look good. We all want Mirza to be here in India with us in this crucial time," said the elder brother, Abdulsultan, 68.
Mirza said, "I have been told I have the same cancer as my father, with 5 per cent growth in my bone marrow. I don't have much time on this Earth either. I want to meet my dearest mother one last time, and my extended family will also get a chance to meet me one more time. "I can't stop thinking about my mother; I saw her last in 2008. She got up at 3 am a couple of days ago and asked where I was. It breaks my heart that I'm not there with her now."
Amina and her husband are originally from Gujarat but migrated to Maharashtra. Her elder son Abdulsultan was born in 1950 in Ahmednagar. While the entire family has Indian citizenship, Mirza was born in Pakistan in 1953, when Amina was visiting her aunt in Karachi. His aunt adopted him, and he lived in Karachi until he moved to the US in 1990. He obtained US citizenship in 2006.
Indian Consulate says
Responding to mid-day's query via email, L T Ngaihte, Consul at the Consulate General of India Atlanta, wrote, "This post is aware of the case you have mentioned and is waiting for clearance from MHA [Ministry of Home affairs], as required under the visa rules, on the basis of the applicant being a US national of Pakistan origin. The application was made to this post just two weeks ago."
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