Best friends Purvi Thacker and Sarah Munir knew they would attend each other’s weddings someday. But the pair have hit a bit of uncertainty: Thacker is planning on walking down the aisle in India in December, but Munir — her maid of honor — may not be able to be there for the big day.
Thacker, who was born in India, and Munir, who was born in Pakistan, met at Columbia Journalism School in 2011. Both have visited each other’s home countries, where they have stayed with each other’s families in the past, but this time, Munir’s visa to India was denied with no reason provided, according to the pair.
“We were extremely shocked and disappointed as we had put in months of work to get the paperwork in order, get everything signed, attested and verified as per the requirements,” Thacker and Munir told NBC News in a joint email. “Given the prevailing political tension between the two countries, we knew the visa would be a tough call but we're counting on the fact that Sarah has been to India twice before and Purvi has visited Pakistan as well.”
The relationship between India and Pakistan has been strained since both countries became independent from the United Kingdom in 1947. Since then, India and Pakistan have fought three wars and often exchange small arms fire.
After learning that Munir's visa had been denied, the friends took to social media to share their story and have received much support for their situation.
“That my best friend cannot be there for what will be my biggest day is something that I cannot come to terms with,” Thacker wrote in a Facebook post on Tuesday, which has received more than 3,000 likes and more than 800 shares as of Thursday afternoon.
“All we want out of this is for people to recognize the kind of love that exists between Pakistani and Indians, one that transcends boundaries, nationalities and religion."
The post was tagged #GetSarahToIndia, which the pair's supporters have begun to use on social media to campaign for the approval of Munir's visa.
“The love, support and offers on social media to #GetSarahToIndia have been overwhelming and far exceeded our expectation," the two said. "We are truly humbled and moved by how friends, families, colleagues and even complete strangers have rallied behind our friendship.
Despite the visa rejection, the friends remain optimistic that Munir will somehow get to India in December, and Thacker has not yet modified her wedding plans.
“I am looking forward to having her by my side while I grumble about makeup, jewelry and heavy Indian clothes,” Thacker said.
The two friends also hope that their story will help create a change that will benefit others who have been affected by politics and borders like they have.
“All we want out of this is for people to recognize the kind of love that exists between Pakistani and Indians, one that transcends boundaries, nationalities and religion," they said. "And obviously, we wish for this to be resolved somehow so that Sarah can attend Purvi's wedding in December.”
The Indian Embassy did not respond to NBC News requests for comment.