NEW DELHI: External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj again took a dig at her Pakistani counterpart Sartaj Aziz, and this time she had company in the form of a Pakistani woman who joined her in lambasting him.
The woman from across the border, went so far as to say on Friday that Pakistanis don’t even know if their foreign affairs chief Aziz exists.
The back story is that the Pakistani woman, whose Twitter handle is Hijaab Asif, pleaded with minister Swaraj on Twitter to grant a medical visa to a relation of hers who’s in dire need of treatment.
As is Swaraj’s wont, she noticed the tweet, replied immediately, alerted the Indian high commission in Pakistan and asked them to grant an Indian visa to the Pakistani national.
Here’s when Swaraj took a well-aimed shot at Aziz. “Did Sartaj Aziz not give a letter approving an Indian visa even in such a serious case as yours?”
Pakistan’s Asif then said, “…we have Sartaj Aziz who nobody knows even exists or not.”
Recently-changed rules stipulate that Pakistanis wanting a visa for urgent medical treatment must get a letter from Aziz.
Asif then went to say that the Pakistani government “is corrupt” and that Pakistanis “love Indians”
Then someone, who appeared to be Indian, asked if people like Asif could take a stand and ask Islamabad not to protect terrorists.
Asif replied saying many Pakistanis criticise their government: “We held a press conference cursing them all. They’re shameless!”
Asif was cleary overwhelmed at Swaraj’s graciousness in granting a medical visa to a Pakistani national, despite fierce tensions between the two governments.
“Haven’t seen a woman like her before, despite all the conflicts, she didn’t stop doing the great work!”, Asif said.
She then wished Swaraj could be Pakistan’s prime minister and asked if she can call the minister “superwoman”.
Swaraj has been taking aim at Aziz for a while now.
Earlier this month, the external affairs minister took Aziz to task for not having “the courtesy even to acknowledge” her letter to him urging he grant a visa toKulbhushan Jadhav’s mother. Jadhav is the Indian national on death row in Pakistan.
Ten days ago, Swaraj used Twitter to convey an important message to Pakistan when she said India will issue a medical visa to an ailing man from Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK). That message – PoK belongs to India.
Speaking about the new rules that stipulate a letter from Aziz for a medical visa, Swaraj said those rules do not apply to anyone from PoK.
Why? Because PoK “is an integral part of India”.
Not surprisingly, last December, Foreign Affairs magazine named Swaraj one of 15 ‘Global Thinkers’ of the year “for fashioning a novel brand of Twitter diplomacy”.
Since she took office, Swaraj has tirelessly not just responded to tweets seeking help, she has actually taken prompt action to ensure people’s problems are solved. She’s even worked for the public while ailing and from a hospital room. And she has helped both Indians and non-Indians.