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Kashmiri food fest: Pak denies visa to 2 J&K officials

Source: PTI
February 09, 2006 21:28 IST
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Pakistan may claim to be the champion of the cause of Kashmiris, but it has put stumbling blocks in the path of a Kashmiri food festival proposed to be held in Lahore in March by denying visa to two top officials of the state government.

The Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi refused to give visas to Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Director General Saleem Baig and Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Development Corporation Managing Director Mohammed Aziz Wani even though they had all requisite documents and had acquired all clearances needed, official sources told PTI in New Delhi Thursday.

Baig and Wani were to leave for Lahore three days back in connection with preparations for the food festival planned to be held in the Pakistani city from March 15, they said adding, no reasons were given for denial of permission intimated virtually at the last minute.

"The refusal came even after the external affairs ministry recommended their case," the sources said.

An invitation by the Avadi Group of Hotels, which is to host the 10-day event, was also submitted to the commission but to no avail, they said.

The two officials' visit had already been cleared by the Ministries of Finance, Tourism and Home Affairs, as required.

Significantly, the denial of visa has come at a time when India and Pakistan are witnessing bonhomie and have been taking a series of confidence-building measures.

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