Rare Diseases

US Embassy issues last-minute visa to ailing Pakistani girl

In this Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016 photo, Maria, center, who is suffering from a disease known as Morquio Syndrome, plays with family members in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. The U.S. embassy in Islamabad issued a last minute visa to Maria, an ailing 6-year-old Pakistani child, afflicted with a painful genetic disorder, and her parents who turned to the media as the date for their child’s life altering operation in the United States loomed. (AP Photo/B.K. Bangash)

In this Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016 photo, Maria, center, who is suffering from a disease known as Morquio Syndrome, plays with family members in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. The U.S. embassy in Islamabad issued a last minute visa to Maria, an ailing 6-year-old Pakistani child, afflicted with a painful genetic disorder, and her parents who turned to the media as the date for their child’s life altering operation in the United States loomed. (AP Photo/B.K. Bangash)  (Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad has issued a last minute-visa to an ailing 6-year-old Pakistani girl desperately in need of surgery in the United States.

Shahid Ullah, the father of Maria, says that the family is "so happy" at the news and thanked friends and supporters world over who helped them.

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Ullah, a poor merchant who owns a shop selling blankets in Rawalpindi, near the capital of Islamabad, has campaigned for nearly four years seeking treatment for Maria, who suffers from a genetic disorder known as Morquio Syndrome in which the vertebrae compress the spinal cord.

The embassy said on Tuesday the visas were approved.

Ullah says he and his wife will accompany Maria to a children's hospital in Wilmington, Delaware, that has agreed to do the procedure for free.