Man turned away from film screening at Indian Embassy in Dubai

A Pakistani man has spoken out about his disappointment for being turned away from the screening of a Pakistani film at the Indian Embassy in Dubai

DUBAI // A Pakistani man has spoken of his disappointment after being turned away from the screening of a Pakistani film at the Indian Embassy in Dubai

Faraz Waqar was denied entry to the screening of “A Journey of A Thousand Miles – Peacemakers”, a film directed by Pakistani filmmaker and Academy Award-winner Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, at the Indian Consulate Auditorium on Wednesday.

Mr Waqar, who is the head of marketing at the British Council, said he was hurt by the rejection. “I could not believe it when I was told that a decision has been taken not to allow non-Indian nationals to attend the screening today after checking my nationality as a Pakistani,” the 35-year-old said.

“It should actually have been a wonderful opportunity to interact and make new bonds between the people of both communities.”

Mr Waqar sent his Emirates ID number to the event organiser — which is required for non-Indian nationals attending the consulate — only to be rejected entry hours before the screening. He was told the consulate did not approve anyone on the guest list who was not Indian.

Sheherzad Kaleem, an American filmmaker of Pakistani origin, said she attended the screening without issue despite not being an Indian national. She said the invitation did not specify that the event was for Indian nationals only.

“It is ironic, to say the least, that a Pakistani film enthusiast was denied entry to a screening of a film co directed and co produced by a Pakistani. And that too, in a multicultural city like Dubai,” she said. ‘Film is a platform that should bring people together, not create further rifts.”

In response the event organiser said all guests had to be granted access well in advance and all nationalities were invited. However, a few guests did not receive security clearance in time and were thus turned away.

Published: September 8, 2016 04:00 AM