Persona non grata! | Pakistan Today

Persona non grata!

Karachi Literature Festival (KLF), an annual international literary festival held in Karachi, starting from February 15 till 17, will be having no anti-army analysts moderating any sessions this year to avoid discomfort for pro-army analysts.
Interestingly, Dr Ayesha Siddiqa, an intellectual, author and op-ed writer, was assigned the status of ‘persona non grata’ by organisers of KLF for creating discomfort for the British, pro-Pakistan Army author Anatol Lieven in last year’s session.
The session was about the book of Anatol Lieven ‘Pakistan a hard country’ which was not received well by some analysts in the country for its military-friendly approach, and could not do well in liberal circles.
Dr Ayesha Siddiqa, who is considered an anti-military analyst and was co-moderator during, last year’s session, asked some pinching questions from Anatol Lieven, which caused discomfort for the British author.
She was not called to moderate any KLF 2013 session and was not invited to participate in the festival despite a request from Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) professor Dr Muhammad Waseem.
“I talked to KLF organisers and they told me that I was awarded the status of persona non grata,” Ayesha Siddiqua told Pakistan Today.
“LUMS Professor Dr Muhammad Waseem called me a few months back and told me that he wished that I should moderate a session at KLF 2013,” Dr Siddiqa said.
“I accepted the offer from Dr Waseem and he sent my name as a co-moderator to KLF organisers but he could not get a response from the management of the literary festival, she said, adding that Dr Waseem called KLF organiser Raheela and Muneeza for sending her the invitation to moderate the session with him.”
“Over this I contacted KLF organisers for their non-serious attitude on Dr Waseem’s request following which they told me that the administration of the festival has granted me the status of persona non grata,” Dr Siddiqa said.
“Last year I had a one-on-one discussion with pro-military British author Anatol Lieven on his book ‘Pakistan: a hard country’ but on arrival, KLF organisers had told me that Mohsin Hamid and Ghazi Salahuddin would also participate in the session with me,” she said.
“Some of my friends in the KLF organising team told me that Mohsin Hamid and Ghazi Salahuddin were added on the request of Anatol Lieven,” she said, adding that they also told her that the British author asked the organisers to remove her name but they added names of two more persons instead, to ease Lieven.
“Failing this, Anatol Lieven was brought to me by one of the KLF organisers for negotiations regarding what I had to put forth into the discussion, but I refused,” Dr Siddiqa added. “In this year’s KLF, the Urdu version of my book Military Inc. would be exhibited with the title ‘Khaki Company’,” she added.
LUMS Professor Muhammad Waseem when approached confirmed he had sent the name of Dr Ayesha Siddiqa for co-moderating a session at KLF 2013.
“I called KLF organisers many times and later I was informed that the literary festival has a very low budget and they cannot afford travelling expenses of Lahore-based defence analysts,” he said. “Now I have two Karachi-based persons in the session,” he added.
KLF DIRECTOR DENIES: KLF Director Ameena Saiyid told Pakistan Today that all decisions regarding speakers are taken by the KLF committee. “No one can force us to invite anyone. We try to get new authors every year for the benefit of the audience or we get authors who have published a new book. Ayesha is not entitled to be invited every year. She is not persona non grata and is welcome to attend KLF…it is free and open to all,” she said.


  1. Virkaul said:

    Is mulk diyan maujan hi maujan, jithe vekho foujan hi foujan

      • virkaul said:

        Akbar e Azam, I am just enjoying it from a distance. It doesn't unnerve me but seems you are a beneficiary too. lol.

    • Saeed said:

      She is mindset personality which has no cure. Always talking negative for cheap promotion.

  2. dhotiwala said:

    she talk a lot against Army .. she herself is a daughter of Lt .Colonel ..

  3. diwan said:

    Why she should be invited every year? Does she has a monopoly over moderator -ship? She is one of the self appointed so-called DANISHWAR of Pakistan.

  4. Piggy said:

    Great job Ayesha. At least someone has the courage to stand up against the transgressions of our army.

  5. Hasan Ali said:

    Ayesha Siddiqa is controversial. Her first book against army was funded by few Chinoti business groups on the instructions of Intelligence Bureau ( Prompted by the political government of that time). She was also involved in Pakistan steel privatisation, when Supreme Court took up the case. She is always available for rent.

    • Kamran Afridi said:

      Both statements are false. She is the daughter of a wealthy family and does not require such funding.

      She was part of the military and served as the only civilian director of Naval Research for Pakistan Navy. She was not involved in Steel Mills, her occupation is military and political science related not business lol

      • dhotiwala said:

        who told u she belong to wealthy family .. her used to live in lal kurti. . he dad was lt colonel and her husband divorced her.. ….

  6. Lubna said:

    She is a great writer, who showed courage to speak and write against the wrongdoing of Khakis!

  7. Shah said:

    Calling Siddiqa an analyst and intellectual is the bigger travesty.

    • Anon said:

      You are speaking with a superior credential — should we suppose ???

  8. atif said:

    Haha – typical – we bend over backwards in inviting Shobha De every year so why not Ms. Ayesha Siddiqa?!

  9. Ibn-e-Umeed said:

    "We don't wanna create a discomfort zone anymore for our VALUED guests… We recently succeeded to get our most valued strategic assets revalidated through a staged APC of our political leadership which displayed a collective wisdom to reach an agreed consensus" ~ Long Live Pakistan

    • virkaul said:

      If people could understand that rather than believing in fabricated tales.

  10. MAV said:

    It all started with Aiysha's book Milibus – a subtle attack on the very foundations of Pakistan. Ever since the publication of that book the graph of Pakistan has slid downwards, whether it is for the cause of "democracy" or military is debatable.

    Pakistan does not need such authors which create cracks in the defensive system of the nation state and which can ultimately give AIDS to the nation.


    • virkaul said:

      You are blaming the symptoms rather than the root of disease.

    • Virkaul said:

      Mili bus stands for Military and Business, which is a fact in Pakistan. One hundred and odd families own 90% wealth of Pakistan. What is wrong in exposing it. Such wounds need surgery. But patients can avoid going under the knife and keep suffering.

  11. Ganji said:

    The only way such persons could attract attention is to be dishonest with themselves in public and she has been doing that.But she is loyal to those who hire her, never mind any priciples because none are involved.

  12. saraikistan Khan s said:

    WHy is it wrong to divide Punjab. SInce 1947 15% of the development funds have been used i nthe south. SOuth Punjab has 33% of population and has one Government university and North punjab has 67% of population and has 17 Univrsities. R U DUMB MR.akhtar Secondly Saraiki is a separe language than Punjabi and we are tired of Punjabi Rule. The governemtn cant handle violence in Karachi and QUtta. Imagine if violance breaks out in Seraiki population with 2.82 crore poupulation.

  13. sattar rind said:

    if one is capable why she would not be invited every year? ayesha is expert on the military affairs of pakistan. besides she has deep know how about the madrsas … or militant groups … people want hear her. its a fact.

  14. jai hind said:

    she is an agent of anti pakistan forces. she her self is not aware of this

    • faisal said:

      i concur there are many such innocent agents being played in the hands of our enemies.

  15. Zoobi786 said:

    It is for every one that try to think differently and in unique aspects of a thing. Only then you would be able to know new things in life. The point is, Do not always rely on the text books and official versions of a story. These are most of the times sponsored and molded and hence the truth is distorted. There is much more which is never told in official versions so to find the truth we may need to dwell even unfavorable versions as well. And the book of Dr, Aysha Siddiqa is one unfavorable version of the story which has many facts in it.

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