Sunday, Nov 30, 2003
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By M. Dinesh Varma
The clearance of Dr. Qureshi's visa followed a series of hectic diplomatic manoeuvres at the level of the Prime Minister's Office in New Delhi and the Indian High Commission in London, sources who had been working on their contacts in the national capital told The Hindu.
According to the itinerary, Dr. Qureshi, who works as consultant in paediatric cardiology at the Guy's and St. Thomas' Hospitals, London, is due to arrive here tomorrow.
"We are both relieved and thrilled at the prospect of having a person of such eminence sharing his expertise with us as we were on tenterhooks for the past week over the visa issue,'' says S. Sivasankaran, Professor of Cardiology at the SCTIMST, who was an understudy of Dr. Qureshi during a Commonwealth scholarship programme in paediatric cardiology in the U.K.
Going by experience, securing the participation of Pakistani experts for a medical symposium in India stood a slender chance of succeeding, being invariably linked as the task is to the fluctuating status of Indo-Pakistani relations. The previous time Dr. Qureshi was in India was in 2002, which coincided with a period when there was a thaw in the usually high-strung bilateral relationship.
This time, organisers of the workshop believe that the announcement of ceasefire on the Line of Control of the Indo-Pakistani border must have greatly helped to hasten the completion of visa procedures for the cardiologist's visit to India.
This is, however, Dr. Qureshi's maiden visit to Kerala.
Dr. Qureshi will address a gathering of cardiologists at a workshop on congenital heart disease held under the auspices of the Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST) on December 1.
The interventional cardiologist is credited with the invention of a balloon that could correct cardiac-related birth defects and improve the survival rates among neonates.
His procedure has boosted the success rates of correcting birth defects and vastly improved the survival rates of neonates (babies in the 0-28 days period).
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