NEW DELHI (Web Desk) – Pakistani author Kanza Javed, scheduled to launch her debut novel at the ongoing Kumaon literary festival on Sunday, has been denied a visa at the last minute.
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Strangely, her father and brother, who were to accompany the author, were granted a visa.
Festival organizers, however, are still hoping that the visa will come through.
The five-day festival, which began on Friday, is being held at Dhanachuli village and Nainital in Uttarakhand.
“I had submitted all documents three weeks ago. I only heard from (the Indian High Commission) last afternoon about my visa being denied.
I wasn’t given a reason, and I did not ask them either.
It was very insulting for me. I have always received support from across the border.
I am stunned,” Kanza told TOI over phone from Lahore on Friday evening.
Kanza’s book, ‘Ashes, Wine and Dust’ is set for an India launch.
The book’s manuscript was shortlisted for the Tibor Jones South Asia Prize 2013 when she was just 21.
Kanza says she has travelled to India before in 2013 and was here for a good two weeks.
Festival organizer Sumant Batra was more optimistic and said it could be just a “delay”, and that officials at the Indian High Commission in Pakistan had assured him all help.
“There is a chance it is just a delay, so we can put off her session for another day if the visa comes through,” he said, adding that if the author is unable to travel to India before the festival ended, a Skype session might be organized with her.
On the other hand, two other Pakistani guests – journalist Asif Noorani and publisher Ameena Saiyid – received a warm welcome from Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat at the festival.
Touched, Noorani rose from his chair and said he did not feel like he was in a different country.
Noorani and Saiyid were unaware of the circumstances under which Kanza was denied a visa.