News Analysis |
The Daughter of celebrated Pakistani poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Moneeza Hashmi, who was supposed to speak at Asia Media Summit in Delhi on May 10, was dropped as a speaker at the last minute. The 15th Asia Media Summit, held in India for the first time, was hosted by two autonomous bodies of the I&B Ministry. The three-day summit ended on Saturday.
As per the programme of the event available on its website, Hashmi was one of the speakers on the panel to discuss, ‘Should all good stories be commercially successful’. She had been invited in her capacity as creative and media head of Pakistan-based KASHF foundation. However, the final programme shared by I&B Ministry on May 9 did not have Hashmi’s name as a speaker.
Noted poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s daughter Moneeza Hashmi, who is a well-known media personality in Pakistan, was reportedly not allowed to participate in a seminar held last week in the national capital, which interestingly was organized by the Union information and broadcasting ministry.
The continuous Intimidation of Pakistanis is a message to Hindutva segments of Indian society that their champion the BJP and its master, the RSS is still true to its vow of destroying Pakistan.
According to sources at the ministry, very few people were involved in the decisions regarding the speakers and the change in agenda was made at the last minute. KG Suresh, Director General of Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), one of the hosts of the event, said he or his institution were not consulted about panelists. He told The Indian Express that Asia Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development (AIBD) — an inter-governmental body based in Kuala Lumpur — and I&B Ministry had decided who the speakers would be.
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Sitanshu Kar, Principal Director General of Press Information Bureau, said he was not informed about the speakers. He said he was not consulted about the agenda of the summit and thus was “not aware of any such thing”.
The other autonomous body that co-hosted the summit was Broadcast Engineering Consultants India Limited (BECIL). Chairman and Managing Director of BECIL George Kuruvilla did not respond to messages and calls made to his mobile phone. Sources said Hashmi had been granted a “six-month, multiple-entry” visa to India in February to attend a conference on Faiz, and did not have permission to attend another conference.
Sources said organizers of the media summit in Delhi were not granted “political clearance” for Pakistan’s nationals. So, while Hashmi could have visited the country, she was barred from attending another conference.
The 15th Asia Media Summit, held in India for the first time, was hosted by two autonomous bodies of the I&B Ministry. The three-day summit ended on Saturday.
Quoting sources in the Faiz Foundation Trust, media reports said when Ms. Hashmi reached the hotel where she was supposed to put up, she was told that there was no booking in her name. A shocked Ms. Hashmi was later informed by the director of AIBD (Asia Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development) that she would not be allowed to speak, reports asserted.
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Pakistanis in India are a favorite target of Hindutva groups who routinely use the cover of anti-Pakistan hypernationalism to sow mayhem. Now, this hatred is spreading to other groups and association inside India. Indian Motion Pictures Producers Association (IMPPA) in February, refused to lift the ban anytime soon that was imposed two years ago on Pakistani artists working in the Bollywood industry citing the strained diplomatic relations between the two countries.
The recent Indian step against a Pakistani diplomat seems to be a continuation of harassment against the Pakistani diplomatic staff. Pakistan’s Foreign Office had already confirmed that diplomats and their children in India were being threatened, abused and filmed by unknown individuals. Amid protests and complaints, no positive action has been taken by the India Government so far, mentioned the FO spokesperson.
Anti Pakistanism is not restricted to mere rhetoric but has also morphed into violence mainly by Hindutva terror groups. The Samjhauta Express blasts that killed 68 Pakistanis on Indian soil was perpetrated by the Hindutva terrorist group Abhinav Bharat. On 14 January 2016, A PIA office in New Delhi as vandalized by Hindu Sena members.
Much of this anti-Pakistan posturing has to do with internal domestic ramifications rather than legitimate concerns. An anti-Pakistan stance in the Indian elections always guarantees a win, as seen in various elections by the BJP. A tough stance against Pakistan will help in riling up Hindutva sentiments which often paint Pakistan as the “eternal other”. The continuous Intimidation of Pakistanis is a message to Hindutva segments of Indian society that their champion the BJP and its master, the RSS is still true to its vow of destroying Pakistan.