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He took the `dosti' route to get vision

By N. Ravi Kumar



One-year-old Mohammed Ahmed, who recently underwent an eye transplant in a Chennai hospital, with his parents and sister on Saturday. — Photo: V. Ganesan

CHENNAI, JULY 3 . It might be sometime before the India-Pakistan relationship strikes the right chord, but that does not prevent children from the neighbouring country seeing and experiencing Indian hospitality.

Mohammed Ahmed, a one-year-old, born blind can now see, thanks to two adult Indian donors and a transplant at Dr. Agarwal's Eye Hospital in Chennai.

He is the latest to take the `dosti' route. In July last, the two-year-old Noor Fatima travelled to Bangalore for heart surgery.

Ahmed is the second and youngest Pakistani to be treated in the hospital. Mohammed Tahla Shahzad, a 16-month-old from Rawalpindi, underwent an eye transplant in December last. It was a "very, very tough case," said Amar Agarwal, director of the hospital, who led the team of doctors who restored the boy's vision. "Each surgery lasted four hours," he told reporters here today. As he was speaking, Mohamed sat in his mother's lap playing with his toy piano.

"The child is now able to see, play and move around. He will fly back to Pakistan soon."

The transplant, which the hospital did free, was made possible by a relaxation in travel restrictions and visa regulations.

The boy came to the hospital over a month ago and the two surgeries were performed within a fortnight.

Mohammed is the second son of Mohammed Salim, a bank official in Karachi and Mehmooda Salim.

While his elder brother and a sister are in Pakistan, another sister, Hajra, a student of the third standard, accompanied him to Chennai.

Mr. Salim said a Pakistani doctor referred him to the hospital. Mr. Salim's concerns over coming to a new country vanished on getting down at the Mumbai airport.

People in India are good and so is South Indian food, he said.

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