Indian team for Pakistan meet not granted visas

A 15-member Indian delegation has not yet been granted visas for a conference in Islamabad.

india Updated: Dec 07, 2006 11:58 IST

A 15-member Indian delegation has not yet been granted visas for a conference on sustainable development in Islamabad next week, media reports said on Thursday.

The denial of visas to the Indian team may take the "take the gloss off" the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) conference, the report said.

SDPI Executive Director Saba Khattak, addressing a press conference Wednesday, said the quality of the conference would suffer if the Interior Ministry did not clear the matter soon.

"The SDPI finds it pertinent that the Indian perspective on missing links in sustainable development be shared at the conference," Khattak said. "The delegates might not be able to make it to Islamabad at all if visas are issued to them at the last moment."

"The relevant persons in the Interior Ministry have been very supportive but clearance (of visas) is still awaited," Khattak was quoted as saying in The Daily Times newspaper.

The conference, titled 'Missing Links in Sustainable Development: South Asian Perspectives', is to be inaugurated by Prof Attaur Rehman who heads the Higher Education Commission.

Khattak said the conference would cover five major sub-themes: globalisation, gender, peace people's rights, education and environment. An anthology of last year's conference titled 'At the Crossroads: South Asian Research, Policy and Development in a Globalised World', is also to be launched.

"Policy dialogues proved fruitful where speakers from Pakistan were able to share their ideas with their counterparts from South Asia and other regions of the world," she said.

According to South Asian experts, the denial of visas is a regular feature of India-Pakistan relations, irrespective of the government or personalities in office - organisers have to lobby hard and wait in uncertainty till the governments decide. This conference is not political and does not involve security aspects.

First Published: Dec 07, 2006 11:28 IST