New Delhi - Muneeza Hashmi, the daughter of legendary poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz, was not allowed to speak at a forum in New Delhi, where she was officially invited earlier this week.

Muneeza Hashmi, a well-known television and media personality, was listed as a speaker at the 15th Asia Media Summit held in New Delhi between May 10-12. On the eve of the conference, the government of India told the organisers of the event that she should not check into the hotel or register for the conference, and of course she did not have New Delhi’s permission to speak. She was rebooked by the organisers at another hotel, they apologised profusely, and she left for Pakistan the next morning. The Indian Ministry of Information and Broadcasting was an organiser. TV 18 has reported that the Ministry has denied all knowledge of the incident.

Significantly both Hashmi and the Faiz Foundation kept a lid on the unsavoury incident as they did not want India-Pakistan relations to be further adversely impacted. Hashmi met Indian friends but made it clear that she was not going to speak of this, and would prefer to go back to Pakistan without a fuss. However, the story has since found its way into sections of the media and as Hashmi now realises it cannot be covered up.

In a tweet marked to the Prime Minister’s Office, India and Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj, Hashmi’s son Ali Hashmi wrote “This is your Shining India? My 72 year old mother, daughter of Faiz, denied permission to participate in conference after being officially invited. Shame.” He has given the link to a story that confirms this, and points out further that the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting that had organised the event claimed to have no knowledge of what was her virtual deportation.

In a second tweet Ali Hashmi has included a photograph of Faiz Ahmad Faiz with former Indian prime minister and BJP leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Muneeza Hashmi had a long-term visa for India so came in without normal bells being rung. And so the government scrambled to get her off the list, and out of India, once her presence here was known and confirmed.

Muneeza Hashmi is a strong advocate of peace and amongst those to promote the legacy of her father Faiz Ahmad Faiz. She was the first woman in Pakistan television for a long while, and has played a role in clearing the obstacles for the promotion of women in the media to the higher levels of management. She has been steadfast in working for women empowerment in Pakistan, known for walking the talk and more.

The Asia Media Summit was organised by the Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development (AIBD) and international body hosting delegates from across the globe. The Ministry of I&B was the host. As a senior Indian activist asked, “what would all the participating delegates think of the hosts?” Muneeza Hashmi has been a regular at such meetings, being a recognised media authority from Pakistan.