Pakistanis left hungry for Kashmiri food
7 February 2006
The Daily Times
New Delhi: Pakistanis will not be able to get a taste of select Kashmiri cuisine as Pakistani High Commission refused permission to Kashmiri cooks, chefs and tourism officials to go to Lahore for the first ever Kashmiri food festival. The 10-day long event with was scheduled for February 14. The delegation led by Tourism Director General Salim Beg included Tourism Development Corporation Managing Director Abdul Aziz Wani, famous Indian designer Rohit Bhel, five models, four cooks and several musicians. High commission officials said permission from the Pakistani government was awaited. “Our papers were returned this morning and the event is virtually over now,” said Beg. Officials say Pakistan had allowed the festival earlier and the state government had made elaborate arrangements, calling the event a big confidence building measure. They say the Indian External Affairs ministry had finalised the plan with counterparts in Pakistan, but ‘some last minute hitch’ derailed the event. Former chief minister Mufti Muhammad Saeed had proposed a Kashmiri food festival and music night in Lahore and Islamabad. The state government had earlier organised similar events in Dubai and Germany. Besides unique dishes like ‘Goshtaba’, ‘Rista’, ‘Tabak Maaz’ and ‘Rogan Josh’, the organisers display Kashmir’s handicrafts including carepts, shawls and ‘Pherans’. Ethnic Kashmiri, Dogri and Ladakhi music was also part of the programme in Pakistan, a state government official said. He said these programmes were aimed at attracting tourists and making Pakistanis aware of Kashmiri culture.