Manoj K Jha, a Rajya Sabha MP of the RJD, announced on Monday that he had been denied “political clearance” by the Ministry of External Affairs to travel to Pakistan for a conference organized by the Asma Janangir Foundation later this month on the crisis of constitutionalism in South Asia.
During the closing session of the fourth Asma Jahangir Conference on October 23, Jha was invited by the Asma Jahangir Foundation, the Pakistan Bar Council, the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan, and the AGHS, Legal Aid Cell, to speak about the role of political parties in maintaining democratic rights.
In an interview with The Deccan Era, Jha revealed that he received a letter from the Ministry of Home Affairs approving his online request for prior permission under Section 6 of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 to accept foreign hospitality during his two-day conference visit to Lahore.
In spite of this, he claims that the Ministry of External Affairs rejected his application for “political clearance” without giving any explanation. Arindam Bagchi, the spokesperson for the MEA, did not respond to the Indian Express.
“I have been invited to attend the prestigious Asma Janangir conference. Over the course of her life, she fought for the rights of minorities in Pakistan. In defense of human rights, she fought. I was eager to attend. The topic of my presentation was the role of political parties in maintaining democratic rights. Having the opportunity to showcase how we view this issue, how we fight inside Parliament, and how it is heard and listened to would have been a valuable opportunity for me personally and professionally.
Despite not knowing who makes decisions, it is likely that those who make decisions do not understand who Asma Jehangir was, what the purpose of this conference is, and I find this unfortunate and saddening. I cannot discuss our achievements in protecting democratic rights as an MP,” he stated.
According to the invitation that Jha received, the purpose of the fourth edition of the conference is to “promote the principles of democracy and rule of law, in addition to discussing the current situation in areas under conflict and its implications on the global and regional scale.”