Muneeza Hashmi, daughter of Faiz Ahmad Faiz, ‘deported’ by New Delhi

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–Faiz’s daughter was to speak at a conference in New Delhi before Indian govt denied permission

NEW DELHI/LAHORE: The Indian government barred Muneeza Hashmi, a well-known television and media personality in her own right, from participating in a conference after which she returned to Pakistan on Sunday.

According to details, Hashmi was listed as a speaker at the 15th Asia Media Summit being held here between May 10-12. On the eve of the conference, the government of India told the organisers of the event that she should not check into the hotel or register for the conference. She did not have New Delhi’s permission to speak, reported Indian media outlet The Citizen.

She was re-booked by the organisers at another hotel, they apologised profusely, and she left for Pakistan the next morning.

Moreover, her name was missing from the final list of speakers released by the Indian government. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting were the co-hosts for the summit along with Asia Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development (AIBD). On the other hand, the organisers have completely denied any knowledge of this last-minute change. Director General, Press Information Bureau Sitanshu Kar said that he was not aware of the development.

One Indian channel has reported that the ministry has denied all knowledge of the incident.

The Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), which was helming the summit in Delhi, too said that they were not kept in the loop. “We were the co-hosts and the work was divided between us and AIBD. We had sent suggestions on the speakers list but it was AIBD’s call finally on whom to pick,” IIMC Director KG Suresh said.

A senior Indian activist asked, “What would all the participating delegates think of the hosts?”

Significantly both Hashmi and the Faiz Foundation kept a lid on the unsavoury incident as they did not want India-Pakistan relations to be further adversely impacted. Hashmi met Indian friends but made it clear that she was not going to speak of this, and would prefer to go back to Pakistan without a fuss.

However, the story has since found its way into sections of the media and as sources said, Hashmi now realises it cannot be covered up. She has been committed to peace, harmony, and cooperation between India and Pakistan is a well-respected figure in both countries.

ALI HASHMI REACTS:

In a tweet marked to the Prime Ministers Office, India and Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj, Hashmi’s son Ali Hashmi wrote “This is your Shining India? My 72-year-old mother, daughter of Faiz, denied permission to participate in a conference after being officially invited. Shame.”

He has given the link to a story that confirms this and points out further that the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting that had organised the event claimed to have no knowledge.

In a second tweet, Ali Hashmi has included a photograph of Faiz Ahmad Faiz with former Prime Minister and BJP leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Indian director Mahesh Bhatt responded to Hashmi’s tweet and said, “Nikalna Khuld se Aadam ka sunte aaye thay lekin Bohat be- aabru ho kar teray kuche sey hum niklay – Ghalib. Sorry Muneeza ji.This too shall pass. Let’s work together nevertheless to create a conflict-free world which the Mahatma laid down his life for & Faiz lived for.”

NOT THE FIRST TIME:

This is not the first time that such incident has taken place. Faiz’s daughters – Moneeza and Salima Hashmi – have faced such a snub during the recent past as well.

In February 2018, both were invited for an event in Lucknow to celebrate Faiz’s birth anniversary on 11th February. “Only Salima got the visa, which came two days before the event making it impossible for her to come. One needs to ask why this government is humiliating Faiz’s descendants like this,” General Secretary Nationalist Congress Party and author of Celebrating Faiz, DP Tripathi said.

India and Pakistan during this period of increased hostility have cracked down on the peace lobby within both countries, with scholars, activists not being given visas. Muneeza Hashmi had a long-term visa for India so came in without normal bells being rung. And so the government scrambled to get her off the list, and out of India, once her presence here was known and confirmed.

Muneeza Hashmi is a strong advocate of peace and amongst those to promote the legacy of her father Faiz Ahmad Faiz. She was the first woman in Pakistan television for a long while and has played a role in clearing the obstacles for the promotion of women in the media to the higher levels of management.

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