Mounting casualties: After Gulzar, Shobhaa De also cancels for KLF

Published: February 14, 2013


With the return of Indian poet Gulzar and film director Vishal Bhardwaj putting the Karachi Literature Festival (KLF) under a cloud, the city’s premier literary event was dealt another blow late on Wednesday when author Shobhaa De was forced to cancel.

The KLF organisers tweeted from their account:

“Shobhaa De cancelled because she said her visa was issued too late. She’d like to attend #KLF next year and we hope very much that she does”

The Mumbai-born writer tweeted from her own account late on Wednesday that the delay in her visa was the main cause for her decision. Though, she gave into some conspiracy talk speculating whether the visa was deliberately delayed.

“Pakistani visa was too late! Gulzar had his reasons for not attending the KLF. I was so looking forward to it. Someone didn’t want me there?”

Earlier in the day, Gulzar and Bhardwaj returned to India apparently over security fears.

Last month, Pakistani diplomats were unable to attend the Jaipur Literature Festival when they were not given the required travel permissions to attend the event.

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Reader Comments (28)

  • RAW is WAR
    Feb 14, 2013 - 2:30AM

    Kalti Litrature Festival.


  • GS@Y
    Feb 14, 2013 - 2:51AM

    Sad, but since it’s a literary festival, perhaps Shobha De being there would have been a bigger irony.


  • Thinker
    Feb 14, 2013 - 2:54AM

    Who cares…..!!!


  • Billoo Bhaya
    Feb 14, 2013 - 3:17AM

    I don’t feel safe in Karachi and try not to go there, why would anyone in the world want to go there?? Anybody visiting Karachi is putting their life at risk. Pakistan needs to get is security services and judiciary in line, so that terrorists are sent to jail and not given bail to run a riot. Until then its not worth living in this country.


  • NItin Gandhi
    Feb 14, 2013 - 3:24AM

    Hopefully, next year in better atmosphere , Pak will have more participants from neighboring countries..


  • goggi
    Feb 14, 2013 - 3:27AM

    Apparently mutual fingering is the state policy of both the counties!


  • gp65.
    Feb 14, 2013 - 3:31AM

    “Last month, Pakistani diplomats were unable to attend the Jaipur Literature Festival when they were not given the required travel permissions to attend the event”

    ET: Misleading. You should have mentioned that the authors and poets were allowed – it is just bureaucrats that were denied permission.


  • kaalchakra
    Feb 14, 2013 - 6:15AM

    So many people live safely and happily in Karachi. Indians are essentially saying that everyone visiting Karachi will be killed. Does Pakistan really want such people visiting Karachi?


  • make an example
    Feb 14, 2013 - 6:35AM

    Tit for tat. Indian government did this first as stated in report. But our Pakistani VIPs don’t want to be mentioned.


  • naeem khan Manhattan,Ks
    Feb 14, 2013 - 6:43AM

    It seems like tit for tat, it is sad that the governments of both countries are not serious to normalize relations, well the hate goes on.


  • Kolsat
    Feb 14, 2013 - 7:26AM

    @GS@Y: You are right. De is not a writer who should be invited to a literary meeting. She writes sensational novels. There are much better Indian writers who write in English or other Indian languages.


  • Bilal
    Feb 14, 2013 - 7:34AM

    who is she?


  • Ajit Harisinghani
    Feb 14, 2013 - 7:52AM

    My friend Saaz Agarwal is there in Karachi releasing her book Stories of Sindh. Wonder what she will say about KLF when she returns. In any case, Best of Luck for the Success of KLF. I could not come to release my book One Life to Ride but its on Amazon in case anyone is interested in travelling through India on a motorcycle and reaching Kargil through the pages of a book!
    Will certainly attend KLF next time – when hopefully relations between governments is better.


  • ecopakistani
    Feb 14, 2013 - 9:03AM

    Whats wrong with us? Why cant we arrange for proper security for foreigners? India is arranging sports events, literary events,arts events and even international conferences while we are being shown the door. Security situation is indeed worrisome due to which we lose a lot of revenue.


  • Kamran
    Feb 14, 2013 - 9:05AM

    And our Pakistani artists are dying to go to our neighbouring country….What a shame!


  • irfan khan
    Feb 14, 2013 - 9:06AM

    This lady is a veru well known writer. Its a big loss.


  • Raza Khan
    Feb 14, 2013 - 9:46AM

    Sad! Wish Gulzar Sahib & Shobhaa De Sahiba would have attended the festival!


  • Aman ki Asha(Indian)
    Feb 14, 2013 - 10:23AM

    Aman Ki Asha Aman Ki Asha

    Aman Ki Asha Aman Ki Asha

    Aman Ki Asha Aman Ki Asha

    Aman Ki Asha Aman Ki Asha

    Aman Ki Asha Aman Ki Asha


  • Sohaib Alvi
    Feb 14, 2013 - 10:25AM

    How can visa be too late when it was issued on Feb 13, two days before the event starts? It takes a few hours, at most half a day, of logistics to get here from India, wherever Shoba De is. Seems she didn’t want to come or was told not to by someone in her country not to and she’s blaming Pakistanis. I have my ‘shuba’ jee.


  • gp65
    Feb 14, 2013 - 10:27AM

    @make an example: “Tit for tat. Indian government did this first as stated in report. But our Pakistani VIPs don’t want to be mentioned.”

    Actual Indian government did not stop Pakistani authors and poets. They participated in Jaipur literary festival and then proceeded to Calcutta literary festival. Visas were only denied to Pakistani bureaucrats.


  • Rana
    Feb 14, 2013 - 10:54AM

    We do care & respect all the literary personalities like Great Gulzar Sahib including Shobhaa De, we expect there may not be any dirty political game involved in sudden exit of Gulzar Sahib. According to my observation, organizers of the event found to be least capable of handling such a prestigious event and failed to provide proper security to respectable guests. It’s not hidden from anyone that there are some serious security risks here, so it’s understandably necessary to be mentally prepared for such kind of threats at first place if any, because millions of people including me are feeling shocked and heartbroken specifically by quick exist of Gulzar Sahib without providing and reasons to his admirers!! We have great respect for Gulzar Sahib, Kaifi Azmi (Late), Javed Akhtar Sahib, Lata Sahiba and many more!

    Personally I have always dreamed about seeing Lata Sahiba more than anyone else! She is a true legend & asset of India possessing something magical which no else one can even imagine!


  • Karim
    Feb 14, 2013 - 1:28PM

    apparently, this seems a tit for tat action.


  • Bharat
    Feb 14, 2013 - 1:29PM


    Thanks Sir, i always hear that Pakistanis are very hospitable. I will like to visit your beautiful country and i do not care about the security issues which are overhyped anyway


  • Bharat
    Feb 14, 2013 - 1:30PM

    @irfan khan:

    Sir things will improve soon and many Indians would be keen to visit your country including me


  • Bharat
    Feb 14, 2013 - 1:31PM

    @Billoo Bhaya:

    I think many people are hyping the security situation,Karachi is a mega city,i am sure some areas are dangerous and most of the city is safe to go for foreigners too


  • Bharat
    Feb 14, 2013 - 1:33PM


    The perception of Pakistan has taken a beating in recent times and that is the reason

    I do genuinely belive things can be improved but some one has to show courage

    Pakistan should highlight its natural beauty, its cuisine, arts to the world


  • Love Khi
    Feb 14, 2013 - 3:23PM

    Event is organized in the most peaceful area of the city so there are no security risks. Karachi is the heart of Pakistan there are problems in some areas of the city but rest of the city is as lively as Mumbai.


  • Lol
    Feb 15, 2013 - 12:47PM

    @Aman ki Asha(Indian):
    Please read full statement of Gulzar as to why he had to go back on the web…. ET please take notice and stop spreading false news….


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