Hitch in Pakistan son return to Karachi

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NewDelhi,November 12:External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s plan to reunite a Pakistani mother in Karachi and her son Ramzan (15), who is being looked after by a charitable organisation in Bhopal, is not moving ahead.

The Hindu has learnt from the Ansar Burney Trust in Karachi, that the mother Razia Begum has declined the offer of a visa from Ms. Swaraj.

"Razia Begum has requested Indian officials to bring her son back. We have failed to convince Razia to travel to India as she is worried about the communal tension being reported in the media," Shagufta Burney, Director, Ansar Burney Trust, said from Karachi.

Ms. Swaraj had introduced Ramzan as the next big humanitarian issue on her agenda on October 26 when Geeta, the speech and hearing impaired Indian woman returned from Karachi.

There is optimism in Pakistan that the boy might be reunited with his mother as early as December 7 when Ms. Swaraj travels to Pakistan for the Heart of Asia conference.

Ms. Swaraj had introduced Ramzan as the next big humanitarian issue on her agenda on October 26 when Geeta, the speech and hearing impaired Indian woman returned from Karachi.

There is optimism in the Pakistani camp that the boy might be reunited with his mother as early as December 7 when Ms. Swaraj is expected to travel to Pakistan for the Heart of Asia conference, but problems persist in this case.

The Ansar Burney Trust said Ms. Swaraj extended an invitation to Ramzan's mother, soon after she announced the boy’s case at the press conference welcoming Geeta.

"Sushmaji has extended an invitation to Ramzan's mother. The son and the mother have identified each other but the process of reuniting them remains incomplete," said Ms. Burney, who added that Razia is poor and now under the care of the trust in Karachi.

There are other stumbling blocks too. Diplomats on both sides are yet to coordinate their efforts. Sources in the Pakistan High Commission in Delhi said an official letter from Islamabad, requesting faster action on the boy's repatriation had not received any response from the MEA.

Apparently, Indians are not sharing their plans. Pakistani diplomats said the authorities will have to find a common way out so that mother and son are reunited soon. They suggested that bringing him back to Pakistan instead of the mother flying to India to accompany him is an easier option as the boy can travel with Indian officials or Sushma Swaraj herself, if she travels to Pakistan for the conference on December 7.

Like Geeta's, Ramzan, is also poignant as he left Karachi with his father for Bangladesh but was abandoned due to domestic issues. But subsequently, he moved across the border to India and ended up in a children's home in Bhopal, after being a child worker for some time.

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