Day 1: 500 of 680 Pakistani delegates denied visas for India Social Forum Print E-mail
 Sunday November 12, 2006

India refuses visa to 500 Pak delegates

Islamabad, Nov. 11: India has refused visa to majority of the Pakistanis interested in attending the ‘India Social Forum’ being held in New Delhi from November 9 to November 13. Out of a total of 680 delegates who applied for permission to visit India, 500 were refused visa by the Indian government, said Pakistan Social Forum general-secretary Irfan Mufti.

“Ironically the Indian government refused visas without giving any specific reason. After waiting for more than eight days, we did not get any clear response from the Indian home ministry or Indian high commission and we decided to withdraw our passports,” he told reporters.  Mr Mufti said that peace activists, human rights organisations and movements, farmers and workers movements, media groups, lawyers, notable scholars, political groups and civil society organisations from all parts of Pakistan strongly protested against unfriendly visa policy of the Indian government and humiliating behaviour of the Indian high commission staff. He showed dismay on the denial of visa to Pakistani delegates by Delhi without giving any reason.

“The Indian government consciously stopped those delegates to participate in the Indian Social Forum,” he alleged.  The ISF is expected to be attended by more than 60,000 people bringing together people contesting neo-liberal policies, imperialists’ agenda and monopoly capitalist forces in the world from all over Asia and Africa. Mr Mufti said that by denying visas to Pakistani representatives of the civil society Indian government had also snatched their right to be part of open dialogue and pro-people process in the region.