Some 15 years after she strayed across the border in a train and was stranded in Pakistan, speech and hearing impaired Geeta made an emotional return to India on Monday to be reunited with her family.
Geeta flew into the international airport in Delhi on a Pakistan International Airlines flight from Karachi, accompanied by five representatives of the Edhi Foundation, including Bilqees Edhi, the Pakistani woman who cared for her and led a campaign for her return to India. The campaign to return her to her home was galvanized due to the popularity of the Bollywood film Bajrangi Bhaijaan, whose story dealt with a similar case with nationalities reversed. Thus, a truly remarkable and humanitarian tale of cooperation between citizens and governments of two countries who are otherwise caught in escalating tensions has been improbably witnessed.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed gratitude on the return of Geeta and thanked the Edhi family for looking after her. Modi announced a contribution of INR 10 million for the Edhi Foundation. Humanitarian Abdul Sattar Edhi on Tuesday declined the offer of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to donate 10 million Indian rupees to his charity. “Abdul Sattar Edhi has thanked Mr Modi and politely declined to accept his announced financial help,” Edhi Foundation Spokesman said.
On normal circumstances perhaps Edhi foundation could have accepted donation bur considering the bad state of affairs of Indian government it was right decision not to accept Modi’s donation. Modi should have been more vociferous over the last few weeks when Shiv Sena forced Ghulam Ali to cancel a concert, broke into a meeting between the BCCI and the PCB, forced Aleem Dar to stand down from an ICC-sanctioned cricket match and got Wasim Akram and Shoaib Akhtar effectively ‘deported’ from India.
Humanity, compassion and commitment to social justice possessed by Abdul Sattar Edhi and his wife are inspirational for many.