Indian bride-to-be launches campaign to get visa for Pakistani bridesmaid

Purvi Thacker's Facebook post, where she pleaded for authorities to issue a visa to her Pakistani bridesmaid, has gone viral. PHOTO: FACEBOOK/PURVI THACKER

NEW DELHI (AFP) - An impassioned plea by an Indian bride-to-be urging authorities to issue a visa to her Pakistani bridesmaid has gone viral on social media amid worsening ties between the neighbouring countries.

Journalist Purvi Thacker, who is set to get married in Mumbai in December, poured her heart out on Tuesday (Nov 1) on Facebook after her best friend Sarah Munir's visa application was rejected by the Indian consulate.

"Never did wars, religion, shared history, nationality or even cricket matches come between us," Ms Thacker, a New York-based freelance journalist, wrote in a blog.

It was not until Ms Munir's visa application was denied "that we were reminded that politics of hate and fear will create differences even where there are none among ordinary people like us.

"Being friends and being there for each other should not be this hard just because we were born on different sides of the borders," Ms Thacker wrote.

India and Pakistan have been at loggerheads since their independence from Britain in 1947 and have fought three wars, including two of the divided territory of Kashmir which both countries claim as their own in full.

Military and diplomatic tensions have soared since a recent raid on an Indian army base near the de facto border dividing Kashmir killed 19 soldiers, the worst such attack in more than a decade.

Ms Thacker's #GetSarahtoIndia campaign has garnered thousands of shares, likes and reactions, making it to news publications on either side of the border.

She even tagged India's Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj on Twitter, seeking her urgent help in the matter.

The friends, who first met in New York in 2011 while attending a graduate programme, have travelled to each other's countries before.

Indian opposition lawmaker Shashi Tharoor tweeted his support to the friends, saying he was counting on the minister to untangle the red tape.

"Some1 who has visited India twice already can't be a risk. All the best for your wedding!" he said in a tweet to Ms Thacker.

The bride-to-be is hopeful that love would eventually triumph over hate.

"For us, it is very simple, we are best friends and we hope our governments can see that too," she said.

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