Even as diplomatic dialogue between India and Pakistan remains at a standstill, the cultural relations between the two nations took a step forward with the Karachi Literature Festival. KLF, which was held from February 10 to 12, saw the Indian government’s flagship cultural body as one of its sponsors.
Indian Council for Cultural Relations’ (ICCR) involvement with the event in Karachi comes at a time when Pakistani artistes continue to be banned from performing in India. According to a Times of India report, the government is determined not to give up on people-to-people contact, even if political differences with Islamabad were insurmountable.
“We are working to increase India’s cultural footprint across the world under the leadership of PM Narendra Modi, including in Pakistan,” ICCR director general Amarendra Khatua told TOI. This is the first time ICCR is sponsoring the event, which began in 2010. Speaking to news agency ANI, Khatua said, “We have not sponsored Karachi Literature Festival, only the four participating Indian authors.”
ICCR’s involvement in KLF comes weeks after Pakistan declined an invitation by Indian Parliament and Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) to attend South Asian Speakers’ Summit to be held February 18-19.
The dismissal of cultural ties between the two nations started in the aftermath of Uri attack, where infiltrators from Pakistan killed 18 Army personnel in September 2016. Following that India retracted its participation from SAARC summit and placed an effective ban on Pakistani artistes performing in India.
“Shame on ICCR, if it has sponsored an event in enemy country like Pakistan, when jihadi terrorists and soldiers from Pakistan are killing Indian soldiers and citizens almost every day. Now all patriots must unite to condemn such move by ICCR and compel Indian govt to stop such misuse of our money. Also stringent action should be taken against concerned officials responsible for this ! “– says Editor, of Hindujagruti