The South Asian Sufi Festival which is commencing in Jaipur on Friday will not have artists from Pakistan this year.
The South Asian Sufi Festival which is commencing in Jaipur on Friday will not have artists from Pakistan this year. The four-day festival will not feature writers, scholars, or poets from the neighbouring country. According to the festival organisers, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had refused to comply with their request of inviting 20 Pakistani authors for the event which is going to be held on October 6-9. Indian Express reported, MEA is one of the “collaborators” for the event which is organised by Foundation of SAARC Writers and Literature (FOSWAL) in collaboration with Diggi Palace, Jaipur, and supported by the Rajasthan government’s Department of Tourism.
A Pakistani delegation was denied permission for the South Asian Literature Festival in the month of February, this event too was organised by the FOSWAL. Indian Express quoted FOSWAL’s founder-president Ajeet Cour saying, “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.”
More than 130 national and international Sufi scholars and poets will be a part of the festival according to organisers, which 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. Cour further talking about Pakistan’s lack of representation in the festival said, ” It is their (government’s) present policy to not let anyone come here from Pakistan, or let anyone go (to Pakistan).” The upcoming event will be FOSWAL’s 54th conference/festival in 30 years. The chief guest for this event will be Tara Gandhi Bhattacharjee, chairperson of Kasturba Gandhi National Memorial Trust and granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi.