Pakistan withdrew its participation from the annual trade event almost 15 days ago, says a source from the India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO). “Around 104 companies/traders were to participate – they had applied last year for space and sent in their details. We sent those details for clearance from various government departments, as we do each year for each country. It is a routine procedure that usually takes some time, but around 15-20 days ago they (the Pakistani group) withdrew their participation, saying ‘the clearance was taking longer than usual,'” says a spokesperson from IITF. The Pakistan pavilion had always been one of the major attractions at the trade fair, and textiles and apparel from Pakistan were major highlights. “They would get orders for the entire year from their participation here,” adds the spokesperson.
Apart from this, a fashion and lifestyle exhibition titled Kya Dilli Kya Lahore, which was scheduled to take place from January 5 to 7, has also been put on hold. The organizers had finalized the venue in Delhi and the line-up of participating designers from Pakistan, but with the current situation between the two countries, they now say that they can’t even consider doing the event. “Films, TV aur ab fashion aur cultural events – sab par fark pad raha hai. I got a great response from the exhibition last year and had my schedule ready, but I don’t think that it can take place at this time. Participating designers have come up with special bridal collections to be showcased in India. We may take the exhibition to Dubai or Turkey and call it Kya Dilli Kya Lahore meet in Dubai or Turkey – agar Pakistan ya India mein milne se rok hai artists ko toh kahin aur toh mil sakte hain. I am also planning to have a music awards function in February in Karachi and invite Indian artists. I have already sent an informal invite to a few but haven’t got a favourable response so far, maybe because everyone is waiting and hoping that things will improve. I would not say that I have given up the idea of hosting the fashion exhibition in Delhi; I am just waiting for the right time,” says Huma Nassr, the organizer of the exhibition.