As India-Pak tension rises, chefs from neighbouring country denied visa for Amritsar culinary meet
New Delhi, Sept 22: It's just over a month that a new government under the leadership of Imran Khan has taken charge in Pakistan and already there are signs that the relationship between Pakistan and India has started worsening further.
According to a report in The Tribune, amid the heated exchanges recently between the two countries in the wake of New Delhi's cancelling talks between their foreign ministers, even the people-to-people contact between the two neighbours has been jeopardised.
The report said six people from the Chef's Association of Pakistan were invited to The World Heritage Cuisine Summit & Food Festival 2018 and of these six, invitation letters for four were sent across to the Indian High Commission and also to the personalities themselves for visa applications. These four people are Falak Gohar, Shahid Mahmood, Shumaila and Samina Ahmad while the other two are Ahmad Shafiq and Tipu Imran. The invitations have now been withdrawn.
The culinary event is organised by the Indian Federation of Culinary Association (IFCA), a nodal body of culinary professionals in India and recognised by the Ministry of Tourism, and will be held between October 12 and 14 at the Heritage Fort, Amritsar, Punjab. The Tribune quoted president of the IFCA as saying: "The invite to chefs from Pakistan to participate in the World Heritage Cuisine Summit & Food Festival in Amritsar between October 12 to 14 was withdrawn as IFCA is unable to fulfil the requirements of the Pakistan visa office."
Pakistani chef Shafiq said the invitations were withdrawn under political pressure and discrimination against his country.
The Tribune cited an official source which confirmed that "India has a restrictive visa policy currently in place for Pakistan except for humanitarian cases".