Pak Scholars banned from Asian Studies Conference in India

A political clearance letter from the Indian Ministry of External Affairs EA includes explicit instructions from the Indian government to not include any scholars from Pakistan at the Asian Studies Conference to be held 5-8 July 2018 at Habitat Centre in New Delhi. The conference is hosted by Ashoka University,  India’s premier private liberal arts institute. The Association for Asian Studies is the premier international academic body of Asianists with around 10,000 members. Every year since 2014, it holds an annual AAS-in-ASIA conference for scholars who cannot attend the annual event in North America. The last four conferences were held in Singapore, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.  Full information about the Delhi conference.
Foreign scholars had to apply for an Indian visa with a copy of the invitation and no-objection letters from the ministries of external affairs and home affairs. But the political clearance letter from the MEA includes explicit instructions from the Indian government to not include any scholars from Pakistan at the event. Pakistan was deleted from the list of 57 countries that were supposed to receive an invitation to participate. Annie Zaman, an independent researcher, is the only Pakistani participant who had registered for the conference. Having registered in February, she was to speak on the morning of July 6 on the topic of virtual geographical identities through the lens of Balochistan’s secessionist movement, of which most members live outside Pakistan. However, just over a month ago, the conference organisers contacted her to say that it would be futile to apply for a visa. Zaman was scheduled to be part of a panel co-organised by Sinjini Mukherjee of the University of Heidelberg and Mira Mohsini of the University of Akron on “Framing Spaces: Encountering Affective Geographies in South Asia”.
The organisers of the conference have said that they “deeply regret” the decision of Indian government to bar Pakistani academics as it was “not in tune with open exchange of ideas and knowledge”, but added that directive came too late in the day with preparations already underway for years. Read more in a Wire article