For decades, the border between India and Pakistan has acted as a physical barrier between the nations and stringent immigration regulations have further restricted interaction between people across borders and they have now come in the way of a girl realising her dream of becoming a doctor.
Having migrated to Jaipur from Pakistan's Sindh province with her family following religious persecution in June 2014, 17-year-old Mashal found hope in India as she went on to score 91% in her class XII CBSE exams, The Express Tribune reported.
But her celebrations were cut short by a setback that she could not appear for the All India Pre Medical Test (AIPMT), since she still does not have Indian citizenship. The Hindu girl from Pakistan told The Indian Express,
“There are only two nationality options in the (application) form: Indian, and Overseas Citizen of India/Non-Resident Indian. I am not in either category.”
Mashal's parents are both doctors and decided to quit and come to India after the Narendra Modi government came to power in June 2014, and the new PM promised to accommodate Hindu migrants from Pakistan. They told Hindustan Times, “Though we were well-off there, we were concerned about our security,.”
Mashal's family is not in a financial position to send her to a private medical college which usually charges a minimum Rs 1 crore as donation, and this makes clearing AIPMT extremely crucial for Mashal's dream of becoming a doctor like her parents.
Mashal has already lost a year and spent a lot of money on coaching, which means that she only has the option of pursuing another course if she does not get to attempt AIPMT this year. Her family has already approached the Ministry of External Affairs and HRD Ministry.
A ray of hope
Meanwhile, hope for Mashal to fulfill her dream has been restored, as External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has taken note of her problem, and promised to intervene personally in the case. She tweeted saying,
Mashal - Don't be disappointed my child. I will personally take up your case for admission in a Medical College. @aajtak— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) May 29, 2016
According to The Hindu Singh Sodha of the Seemant Lok Sangathan, an NGO, 15,000 Pakistani Hindus living in Rajasthan are unable to access basic facilities or take up jobs because they don’t have Indian documents.