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Lahore will miss a Kashmiri feast

By Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
February 13, 2006 23:23 IST
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It seems that food connoisseurs in Lahore must forgo a chance to taste the legendary Kashmiri wazwan cuisine, after all. Despite hectic lobbying by the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Development Corporation, the Pakistan foreign office has refused permission to cooks and artisans who planned to hold a Kashmiri fest in Lahore. 

"The Pakistan foreign office has returned our passports," said a disappointed Abdul Aziz Wani, the managing director of JKTDC.

As part of the increasing cultural exchange between New Delhi and Islamabad, Wani's department had planned a massive ten-day food fest in Lahore, starting from March 15.

Master chefs of wazwan, called wazas, were set to travel (for the first time since 1947) and take with them, traditional copper utensils and other paraphernalia to prepare a regal feast for the Pakistanis. Wazwan, which consists of about 36 courses, is traditionally served at weddings and other banquets and is served in large copper plates, one for four people.

Some of its famous dishes are tabakmaaz, rishta, roganjosh and ghoshtaba, which have become very popular all over India.

"The ten day food festival had earlier been cleared by the two governments and, therefore, we were preparing for it. 
Now, we are very disappointed after our passports have been returned without visas," said Wani.

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Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar