An international conference to discuss culture and issues associated with the Urdu language has become the latest victim of frosty India-Pakistan ties.
While the three-day World Urdu Conference, organised by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) and beginning in Delhi Saturday, will host delegates from more than 18 countries, as diverse as Afghanistan, Iran, Uzbekistan and Canada, Pakistan — the only country where Urdu is the national and official language — will not have any representation, reported DNA.
Director of the National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language, an autonomous body under the MHRD, Prof Irteza Karim admitted that invitations had been sent to at least a dozen leading poets, writers and scholars in Pakistan to participate in the fifth edition of the conference. But, it appears the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of External Affairs have refused to give them security clearance, thereby declining to issue travel papers.
Karim said the conference will apprise people about the role played by Urdu.
Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, MoS HRD Dr Satyapal Singh and BJP vice-president Shyam Jaju will jointly inaugurate the World Urdu Conference, which will discuss efforts by Urdu scholars and intellectuals for world peace.
“Such visits are facilitated and promoted and visas granted after following due processes. However, from time to time, they cannot take place in view of prevailing circumstances and absence of requisite security clearances. There have been instances in the past when such visits did not take place from both sides,” a government source was quoted as saying by the report.
He said Urdu scholars will discuss diversities and existing differences, inter cultural issues as well as political issues during the conference. “Feminism, Sufism and world peace as vital narratives in literature and Urdu journalism at our times will be thoroughly discussed and debated,” said the director.
Though officials at the MEA and the Indian High Commission in Islamabad hasn’t give any official reason for the denial of visas, sources cited the ongoing envoy issue and ceasefire violations.