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‘No permission’ from MEA, no Pak artiste at Jaipur Sufi fest

In February, a Pakistani delegation was denied permission for the South Asian Literature Festival, also organised by FOSWAL.

Written by Mohammad Hamza Khan | Jaipur | Published: October 4, 2017 3:24 am
pakistan delegation in sufi fest, sufi fest, pak skip sufi fest, jaipur sufi festival, indian express news, foswal, india news, jaipur news, india pakistan news Last year, people in the Pakistani delegation had withdrawn or was not issued visas.

THE FOUR-DAY South Asian Sufi Festival, which begins in Jaipur on Friday, will not feature writers, scholars, or poets from Pakistan this year. The festival organisers said the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) turned down their request to invite 20 Pakistani authors for the October 6-9 event.

The MEA is one of the “collaborators” for the event, which is organised by the Foundation of SAARC Writers and Literature (FOSWAL), in collaboration with Diggi Palace, Jaipur, and supported by the Rajasthan government’s Department of Tourism.

In February, a Pakistani delegation was denied permission for the South Asian Literature Festival, also organised by FOSWAL.

Punjabi author and Padma Shri recipient Ajeet Cour, FOSWAL’s founder-president, told The Indian Express, “We have to get permission from the political division of the MEA (to invite Pakistani artistes). When they themselves do not give us permission, how can we invite? Without permission, they (MEA) won’t instruct our High Commission in Islamabad to issue visa…it is not in our hands.”

A source in the MEA said, “The request from Mrs Cour which came to the MEA was for all SAARC countries, excluding Pakistan.”

According to the organisers, more than 130 national and international Sufi scholars and poets will participate in the festival. These include 30 from Afghanistan, 20 from Bangladesh, 12 from Nepal, 10 from Sri Lanka, five each from Bhutan and the Maldives, and the remaining from India.

About the lack of representation from Pakistan, Cour said, “It is their (government’s) present policy to not let anyone come here from Pakistan, or let anyone go (to Pakistan).”

Last year, people in the Pakistani delegation had withdrawn or was not issued visas. “Some said they cannot attend due to personal issues, while others have simply not responded,” Cour had then said. “They must be scared too…. They are also people like us, and the present state of unpleasantness between the two countries may have discouraged them.”

However, visa was also an issue, she had said.

The upcoming event will be FOSWAL’s 54th conference/festival in 30 years. The chief guest this year will be Tara Gandhi Bhattacharjee, chairperson of Kasturba Gandhi National Memorial Trust and granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi. The academic sessions and poetry recitals during the day will be followed by an evening of Sufi musical performances, Sufi dances and theatre, according to the organisers.

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  1. G
    Oct 4, 2017 at 4:52 am
    Kill all those requests for visas to Pakistan artists. When their brothers attack on our borders round the clock, attack BSF barracks, why should India be giving any visas?
    1. P
      papa imran
      Oct 4, 2017 at 4:35 am
      have you seen how the indian tv channel anchors degrade muslims and islam. just watch greatdebate on zeenews. if muslims of india have any balls they should rebel against the oppressive indian state in full force. from uri to muzaffarnagar, hyderabad to kolkatta, kanpur to assam. the muslims of india are facing the worst kind of opprresion by banya hindus. look at what they did to babri mosque. look how the butcher of gujrat killed muslims in 2002 like cows. if muslims of india have any sharam or ghairat they must put varnasi temple on fire, demolish somnath temple and help create stampede at kedaranath and other lingam temples. also they should spread hiv or cholera at kumbh mela. muslims of india unite and rebel against the india state and break india into thousand pieces
      1. G
        Oct 4, 2017 at 4:53 am
        They deserve that
        1. R
          RAHUL GANDHI
          Oct 4, 2017 at 5:01 am
          low level madarsa educated Keyboard gladiator! Why are you hiding behind the anonymity of the internet? Only regret is forefathers of gutt3rsnip3s like you were allowed to stayback in this country even when a large chuck of India was taken away by your coreligionists in 1947.
        2. A
          Oct 4, 2017 at 3:39 am
          Invite Sufis from Afghanistan and let Pakistan feel the punch of a large country that respects its neighbours and will not let them disrespect itself.