New Delhi: A doctors delegation from Pakistan which was scheduled to attend a four-day global meet on cancer care beginning on Wednesday could not do so as its members were unable to get visas, organisers said. Pakistani sources termed it as "unfortunate" while Indian officials were not immediately available for comments.
The conference, organised by International Federation of Head and Neck Oncologic Societies (IFHNOS) and Foundation for Head-Neck Oncology (FHNO), is being attended by doctors from around 15 foreign countries. When asked at a press conference if there were delegates from Pakistan, the organisers said, "They were scheduled to participate but could not make it as they could not get the visas."
Organising Chairman of the conference Dr Alok Thakar said, "Some of the doctors were to present papers at the conference." Pakistani sources said that the delegation comprised 25 doctors, while another organising committee member put the number at 8-10 delegates. Relations between India and Pakistan have hit a low after a bitter war of words in the wake of Uri attack and subsequent surgical strike by Indian army across LoC in Jammu and Kashmir targeting terror launchpads.
Thakar, a professor of otorhinolaryngology and head-neck surgery at the Aiims, said the conference brings head and neck cancer experts from around the world and will share developments in the field during the four-day-long meet beginning on Wednesday.
"We have oncologists from Germany, the UK, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Bangladesh, among other countries," he said. IFHNOS is a global organisation established through cooperation of national and regional societies and organisations in the specialty of head and neck surgery and oncology with membership from national and regional multidisciplinary organisations, representing 65 countries.
"Doctors in India have also done a lot of research in the field of cancer and for two days they would be sharing the data and during the rest two days, the foreign delegates would share their data," Thakar said. "Head-neck cancer, unfortunately, is among the most common cancers in the Indian subcontinent and the FHNO has been at the forefront of educational and advocacy activities in this realm," he said.
FHNO represents head-neck medical professionals from India and is among the largest head-neck societies which constitute the IFHNOS.