India denies permission to Janata Dal leader for travel to Pakistan
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India’s Rashtriya Janata Dal leader and Rajya Sabha MP Manoj K Jha has said that he has been denied “political clearance” by the Ministry of External Affairs to travel to Pakistan to attend a conference later this month on ‘Crisis of Constitutionalism in South Asia’ organised by the Asma Jehangir Foundation, reported Indian Express.
Jha was invited by the Asma Jahangir Foundation, the Pakistan Bar Council, the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan and AGHS Legal Aid Cell to attend the fourth Asma Jahangir Conference as a guest speaker for the closing session themed ‘The Role of Political Parties in Upholding Democratic Rights” on October 23.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Jha said he received a letter from the Ministry of Home Affairs Monday giving approval to his online application for prior permission under Section 6 of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 to accept foreign hospitality during his visit to Lahore for the two-day conference.
However, he said the Ministry of External Affairs rejected his application for “political clearance” without assigning any reason. The Indian Express reached out to MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi but he did not respond.
“I received this invitation to attend the prestigious Asma Jehangir Conference. She fought for the rights of minorities in Pakistan throughout her life. She fought… for human rights. I was very keen to attend. I was scheduled to speak on the role of political parties in upholding democratic rights. It would have been a great opportunity for me personally and as an MP to showcase… how we view this issue, how we fight inside Parliament and how it is heard and listened to,” he said.
“I don’t know who decides..but the fact is that probably the people who make decisions do not know who Asma Jehangir was, what was the mandate of this conference and I find it very unfortunate and saddening…I as an MP cannot speak about our achievements in protecting democratic rights,” he said.
The invitation that Jha received said the purpose of the fourth edition of Conference is to “promote principles of democracy, rule of law and most importantly discuss the ongoing situation in areas under conflict and its global and regional impact.”