About the same time the ink on Adnan Sami’s papers proclaiming him an Indian citizen was drying, at Hyderabad Airport this past Tuesday Rahat Fateh Ali Khan was being deported after he had landed to perform at a new year eve function. How ironic. He was dispatched back to Abu Dhabi without so much as a by your leave. Didn’t anyone from organisers to government know the rules?
Go figure. Both are Pakistani and both are singers. The special dispensation given to Adnan is unique and beyond any precedent. Even women and men who marry cross-border are hard-placed to get such courtesy.
Individuals holding passport from Britain or the US who were once Pakistani still have problems getting a visa. If your grandparents are alive and have Pakistani passports you have to go for an interview even if you live in flipping Stratham or Tooting.
Here is a reputed singer landing at Hyderabad. The argument given is that Pakistani nationals must land only at the four major metros and nowhere else.
This makes no sense at all. This rule was put in place when the dinosaurs roamed the earth. The idea was that by limiting points of entry one could keep tabs on our neighbours. In 2016, our information systems are inter-connected and the whole idea behind an international airport is that international passengers can fly into the country. These rules have to change. Was the rule explained to him or the airline by the authorities?
I am not even going into the whole ‘Mr Modi went to Lahore’ folklore, hurrah hurrah stuff and we love each other.
Take the case of these two gentlemen. Both are Pakistani. Both are singers. One gets citizenship, the other gets dumped.
Does this sort of approach make any sense? Fine for Ghulam Ali who has sort of gotten accustomed to the revolving door suspense of every trip, like "will they, won’t they, should I go or should I stay", but has the government of India offered its citizens any yardstick for having granted Adnan this honour when his kin are being shunted out on a regular basis?
Is it a precedent that can be used by others who might want to do the same? Is Islamabad offering a similar privilege?
Have we done it to make our neighbours look bad? No, don’t mock the thought. It must bug them that a high profile guy has trotted off to the other side.
Do we now have to consider Sami’s security levels to protect him from some kook who might wish to harm him? These are all logical questions.
What makes them troubling is that no one cares enough to answer them.