October 27th, 2015
Geeta’s story reads rather like the Salman Khan starrer, Bajrangi Bhaijan, only in reverse. While in the movie, the deaf and mute girl is from Pakistan who has accidentally been left in India, Geeta is an Indian lady who accidentally crossed the border to Pakistan when she was 7 or 8 years old. Despite all border disputes that we have had with our neighbor, Pakistani soldiers handed her over to a home for abandoned and orphaned children in Lahore from where she was sent to the charitable Edhi Foundation in Karachi.
She was shown filial love and care by Faisal Edhi, director of the Edhi Foundation, Pakistan. This non-profit social welfare programme took Geeta within her folds and christened her Faiza. However, when the people at the Foundation realized that she has a Hindu upbringing, they re-named her Geeta.
The case was highlighted by Pakistani philanthropist and Former Federal Minister for Human Rights, Ansar Burney in 2011, following which people from Indian High Commission visited Karachi, but no steps were taken afterwards. The case is now back in the news due to Bajrangi Bhaijan citing a similar story as sated above.
After being directed by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, the Indian High Commissioner TCA Raghavan met Geeta in Karachi and assured her to find her family soon. Since then four different families from Punjab, Bihar, Jharkhand and U.P have come forward claiming Geeta to be their daughter. Sushma Swaraj has assured that the formalities to bring Geeta back are being worked on and has also requested the Chief Ministers of these states to verify the claims made by the respective families and report back.
Faisal Edhi has extended his heartfelt gratitude to external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, Pakistan foreign ministry and the media in both countries for helping Geeta find her family in India. “She has been with us for almost 13 years. Now it is time for her to return,” he added.
Geeta was shown the pictures of various families by the Indian High Commission in Islamabad, who claim to be her relatives, and has identified one of them. However, the final handing over to her real parents will be done only if the pending DNA test proves to be positive. Otherwise, she will be granted accommodation in one of the two institutions identified in Delhi and Indore.
Borders and religion might divide the common people, but humanity has once again proved above all. We hope that these acts of kindness will continue to unite the people irrespective of the diplomatic tensions between the countries. The Logical Indian community lauds the Edhi Foundation for Geeta’s upbringing and the efforts of Indian and Pakistani governments to unite Geeta with her family. We hope she will find her real parents shortly.