This story was originally covered by Manabi Katoch for the The Better India.
Pakistani citizen 13-year-old Nalain Rubab Imran, lovingly known as Abiha, passed away on May 7th, 2015 in an Indian hospital. Yet, her father Hamid Imran can’t say enough in praise for the country.
“Neither can I forget the pain caused by the sudden death of my daughter, nor the love which I received in India”, he says.
Little Abiha came to capital city New Delhi for a second liver transplant. In 2011, she was diagnosed with liver disease in a hospital in Islamabad, where the doctors suggested a liver transplant; a procedure that would cost approximately five million rupees in Pakistan.
Helpless, Hamid seeked aid from the media. Eventually, the current King Suleman in Saudi Arabia came to her rescue, funding her treatment entirely. Her mother was the donor. But relief was shortlived, as Abiha’s body rejected the organ, and the need for a second transplant arose.
Unable to finance the medical expenses in Pakistan, Hamid decided to head for treatment at Apollo Hospital, New Delhi. According to experts, more than 500 Pakistanis have undergone liver transplant in India so far, where they can avail better facilities at much lesser costs.
Hamid’s only contact in Delhi was the family of Sardar Rattan Deep Singh Kohli, a former resident of Chakwal, Pakistan; uprooted during the Partition. Mr. Kohli and his wife Paramjit Kaur extended a warm welcome to the Hamid family.
“From the moment we met, Abeeha became very fond of my wife Paramjit. When my wife offered to cook special food of Abeeha’s liking, she and her family were thrilled as she was finding hospital food boring and tasteless… For non-veg items, I used to get items especially from Muslim vendors and cook for them. I knew Muslims only eat Halal. So, when I told Hamid the meat was Halal, he said in Punjabi: ‘Bhai jaan, sade waste thuhade ghar di har sha Hak Halal hai (dear brother, for us everything from your house is Hak Halal).’”, said Mr. Kohli.
On March, 16th Abiha underwent a twenty hour long surgery and was said to be recovering satisfactorily by her doctors. However, her health started failing soon after. Despite the best care from her doctors, Abiha passed away on May, 7th.
“During our stay of over three months, we never felt for a moment that we were in some foreign country rather the exceptional love, affection and care showered by Kohli Sahib and his family made us felt that we were at some hospital in Chakwal,” says Imran.
Imran says when he reached the Wagah border along with his daughter’s body, the Indian officials treated them with love and care.
“When our ambulance stopped at the border, a soldier rushed to the vehicle and put a piece of green cloth on it so that the body could be saved from the scorching heat,” he says.
The Imran family continues to cope with the grave loss with bravery. He says, he has made his peace with the fact that he did his best as a father, and can’t help but accept his fate. His gratitude to India and its doctors is deep: