Pak diplomats stopped from attending Jaipur Lit Fest

Last Updated: Fri, Jan 25, 2013 10:15 hrs

New Delhi: The government has prevented two Pakistani diplomats from attending the ongoing Jaipur literary festival.

Media reports quoted Union Home Ministry sources, as saying that it was not in favour of allowing the two Pakistani diplomats-Manzoor Memon and Naeem Anwar-to visit Jaipur on Thursday as the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had not given them the requisite approval.

Manzoor Memon heads the media wing of Pakistani High Commission, while Naeem Anwar is Minister (Trade).

According to media reports, the two diplomats had sought permission to visit Jaipur from January 24 to 28 for the festival ten days ago, but no permission was granted until Thursday.

The media reports further said that the Indian Government has confirmed the development, but refrained from giving any reason.

All diplomats need official approval from MEA to travel out of the National Capital Region (NCR), and the final deciding authority is the Home Ministry. 

Request turned down is a coincidence: Khurshid

Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said on Friday that the denial of permission to two Pakistani diplomats to travel to Jaipur did not specifically have anything to do with the literature festival in the city and was a "coincidence".

"Let's not confuse coincidence with any specific decision vis-a-vis the Jaipur festival or for that matter anything else," Khurshid told reporters when asked about the denial of permission to the diplomats.

"Diplomatic requests are made from time to time to the ministry for travelling across the country. In most cases, these requests are accepted and in come cases, for specific reasons at that time best known to the ministry and other agencies, we have to say no," the minister said.

He added that it had not been brought to his knowledge that it (denial of visa) had anything specific to do with the Jaipur festival.

The external affairs ministry did not give the two Pakistani diplomats requisite approval to attend the festival. The two had reportedly sought permission to visit Jaipur Jan 24-28 for the festival 10 days in advance.

Asked about an Indian prisoner who died in a Pakistani prison, Khurshid said the government had sought the post-mortem report.

"We have asked for the post-mortem report and after getting (it) we can say something further," he said.

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