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Indian embassy's call provides healing to Pak family

Source: PTI
February 22, 2007 15:04 IST
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Amid the anger and frustration of Pakistanis who lost their loved ones in the Samjhauta Express blasts, is a letter in a leading daily in Islamabad which praises a call from the Indian High Commission to a family, which lost four of its members.

A letter to the editor of Dawn, written by a neighbour of the victim's family, says the unexpected call from the High Commissioner's office offering condolences was very comforting.

With many relatives of passengers who boarded the train still clueless about the fate of their dear ones, Railway Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed has claimed that Indians have not been cooperating. Amid the many brickbats the letter stands out. "I want to share my thoughts about the Samjhautha Express incident," the letter written by an unidentified "grieving neighbour" from Karachi reads. "It touched my heart and made me sad as my neighbour's four relatives, (parents and two young children) were among the victims. According to him, his relatives are still with the charred bodies waiting to return to Pakistan.

Despite calling helplines and contacting relevant offices, he says he did not receive a single call in reply, he said. "The only call he received was from the Indian High Commissioner's office to condole the death of his relatives," the letter states.

The letter was perhaps a rare acknowledgement of the silent work being done by a team of Indian officials headed by Deputy High Commissioner, T C A Raghavan. Satyabrata Pal, the high commissioner, is in New Delhi in connection with Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri's India visit.

As concerns of relatives of missing passengers compounded by the delay in identification of charred bodies, Raghavan in a rare initiative for an Indian diplomat in Pakistan spoke to TV channels giving details of arrangements to issue visas for relatives from Lahore.

Explaining the difficulties in identifying whether those killed were Indians or Pakistanis, Raghavan said the High Commission as well as the Indian government is in constant touch with both Pakistan Foreign Office here as well as Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi.

At the same time a team of Indian diplomats made hectic efforts to get phone numbers and addresses of those killed and called their families to share their grief and explained the formalities.

The High Commission has issued over 60 visas in the last two days for the relatives to cross over from the Wagah border.

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