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Pak group's "anti-US" play raises NGO's hackles
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November 29, 2005 23:23 IST
Last Updated: November 29, 2005 23:29 IST

A cultural outfit from Pakistan Tuesday charged non-governmental organisation Womens Initiative For Peace In South Asia with "mistreating" and "insulting" it for staging a play, which contained perceived anti-US sentiments.

Sheema Kermani, who heads the Karachi-based group Tehrik-e-Niswan told reporters that the group had on Sunday last performed the play Zikr-e-Nashunida at the Isabella Thobourn Girls degree college.

She said the group was invited by WIPSA to perform in a South Asia theatre festival organised by the NGO.

The first performance of the play was held as part of the festival, Kermani said. She said that after staging of the play, WIPSA "office bearers" in the state capital objected to the play as they thought it contained "anti-US sentiments which went against the policy of the donors (Ford Foundation) of WIPSA".

"We were also told by WIPSA that we have broken discipline by breaking the 2200 hours restriction in the girls hostel," she said.

Kermani said the cultural group considered their objections and the manner they were conveyed as "highly insulting and unacceptable" and it was not possible to continue the tour and association with WIPSA.

Noted social activist and Magsayasay award winner Sandeep Pandey has also expressed outrage at the treatment meted out the group.

In New Delhi, when her comments were sought on the charges made by the Pakistani outfit, WIPSA's Nirmala Deshpande termed the incident as "unfortunate" and said "it should not have happened".

Deshpande told PTI that the incident took place perhaps because no trustee of WIPSA or senior person from the organisation was present during the function in Lucknow because of engagements" elsewhere and the "juniors" could not handle the situation.

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