Ansar Burney, Pakistani human rights activist, is a real life "Bajrangi Bhaijaan". His three-year perseverance to reunite a 23-year-old Indian girl, who mysteriously ended up in Pakistan 15 years ago, has paid off.
Burney, Pakistan's former federal minister for human rights, has been trying to reunite Geeta with her parents since his visit to India in October 2012.
"I went to India three years ago with photos and video of Geeta to try and find her family but I couldn't trace any leads. My trust has started a cross-border campaign to try and find Geeta's relatives so that she can be handed over to them," Burney told Hindustan Times on phone from Britain.
His efforts came to the limelight following the release of Salman Khan-starrer "Bajrangi Bhaijan", which tells a similar story of a Pakistani girl, 'Munni'.
Like the character 'Munni' in the film, Geeta too is suffering from hearing and speech disorder and was separated from her family around 15 years ago. However, unlike Munni, Geeta knows to read and write Hindi.
Burney's struggle to reunite Geeta is all set to come to a fruitful end soon as Sushma Swaraj, India's external affairs minister, has initiated action to restore the girl to her parents.
"I have asked Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Dr TCA Raghavan to go to Karachi with Mrs Raghavan and meet this girl," Sushma Swaraj had replied to Burney's tweet where he posted about the "missing Indian girl" in Pakistan.
Geeta, now 23, had reached Lahore in Samjhauta Express when she was around 7 to 8 years of age. The Pakistani police found her at the Lahore railway station and took her to a shelter home in Lahore, from where she was shifted to other shelter homes until she was finally brought to Edhi Foundation.
She now lives with the founder of the welfare group, Abdul Sattar Edhi, and his wife Bilqees Edhi.
"The girl, whose age is about 22 to 24, keeps telling me through gestures that she wants to fly back home in an aeroplane. Sometimes, she cries a lot. I pray to Allah that she is reunited with her family soon," Bilqees told HT from Karachi.
"She seems to be from a very religious family – her dupatta is always on her head and she often prays at a mandir we set up for her at our home. She also spends a lot of time with the children at the Edhi Foundation," she added.
It is through gestures and maps she has shown the people at the Foundation many things. It is believed that she is either from Telangana or Jharkhand and has 11 siblings.
Ansar Burney Trust is coming closer to find out family of Geeta as number 193 with places Jharkhand and Telangana in India
— Ansar Burney (@AnsarBurney) August 2, 2015
Geeta alias Guddy may be from Jharkhand or Telangana in India. Geeta remember no 193 and says she has seven brothers & four sisters. — Ansar Burney (@AnsarBurney) August 2, 2015
Geeta often writes but no one has been able to decipher what she tries to communicate, as no one knows Hindi at the Edhi Foundation, said Bilqees.