NEW DELHI, May 13 (TNS): What does it mean when Indian government extends its hostility for another government to eminent persons like Muneeza Hashmi, daughter of legendary poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz, stops her from participating in a conference in Delhi, from even registering at the venue or checking into the hotel, and sends her back as if she was a criminal?
How does it reflect on a democracy when its government pushes for action against a person who has always stood for democracy, rights and justice?
Muneeza Hashmi, a well known television and media personality in her own right, was listed as a speaker at the 15th Asia Media Summit being held here between May 10-12. On the eve of the conference, sources said, the government of India told the organisers of the even that she should not check into the hotel or register for the conference, And of course she did not have New Delhi’s permission to speak. She was re-booked by the organisers at another hotel, they apologised profusely, and she left for Pakistan the next morning. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting was an organiser. TV 18 has reported that the Ministry has denied all knowledge of the incident.
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.
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 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 of what was her virtual deportation.