The news of Muneeza Hashmi, the daughter of celebrated Pakistani poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz, being allegedly ‘deported’ to Pakistan has triggered angry reactions on social media platforms with activists, journalists and commentators slamming the government.
This was after Hashmi, a prominent TV personality in Pakistan, accused Indian authorities of denying her entry into a media summit in New Delhi, where she was invited as a speaker. The 72-year-old famous media personality said that she was originally shceduled to speak at the 15th Asia Media Summit in New Delhi between 10 and 12 May. Hashmi said that on her arrival on 9 May in New Delhi, she was told that she had no booking of the hotel and she was not registered.
“The organisers apologised. I stayed in another hotel and left for Lahore on 12 May. I was invited by the Asia-Pacific Institute of Broadcasting Development (ABID) but the Indian authorities stopped me from attending the summit in New Delhi,” Hashmi told reporters in Lahore on Sunday.
“I was to speak ‘Should All Good Stories be Commercially Successful’ along with three other speakers in the summit but I was refused entry,” she added.
Organisers in New Delhi, however, denied the charge and said that they are not even aware of any such incident. According to a report by PTI, Press Information Bureau chief Sitanshu Kar said that he was not aware of any such incident.
The Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) Director KG Suresh told PGTI, “I am not even aware of it, of this entire incident. I also came to know about it only through media persons.”
Reacting to the development, lawyer Prashant Bhushan wrote, “Shame on the Modi government for deporting Daughter of Faiz Ahmed Faiz from India and stopping her from participating in the Asia media summit in Delhi. Faiz was not only an outstanding Urdu poet but also a staunch opponent of the military rule in Pakistan.” Lt Gen (Retd) HS Panag tweeted, “Small minds!” Columnist Rana Safwi wrote, “Muneeza Hashmi: Thank you for your and other friends support. I leave it to your judgement to deal with this matter. We the Faiz Family & Faiz Foundation will continue to work for peace between our two countries. As Faiz would say lambi hai gham ki shaam magar shaam hi to hai”.”
The summit was hosted by the Information and Broadcasting (I-B) Ministry headed by Smriti Irani, jointly with the IIMC, and public sector firm Broadcast Engineering Consultants India Ltd (BECIL).
Irani came for criticism for Hashmi’s return to Pakistan. User Vishu Menon wrote, “In the Smriti Irani dispensation, small mind is patriotism.” User Supriyo Sarkar tweeted, “Who is behind this shameful act, Manusmriti Irani (I & B Minister) or her pradhan sevak himself ? Of course, later it will be claimed that it was all a ‘misunderstanding’ in which the government of NaMo had no role. (sic)”