The partition of laughter

Published Aug 25, 2012 04:02pm

Photo Courtesy: Fotolia.com

I’m in India. Now that I’m here I don’t want to leave. Not because I love the masala dosas or because of the number of marriage proposals I constantly get from rickshaw drivers but because I’m worried if I leave, I’ll never be allowed back in.

It took me six months to get a visa to come and perform in India. The first time I rang the visa office in London and asked the woman, “How long will it take to process?”

She said normally it takes three to five working days for a tourist visa, or a business visa can be dispatched within a day.

I said, “Ok great”.

She said, “What’s your name?”

I said, “Shazia Mirza.”

She said, “Oh!”

There was a silence on the phone. I became worried, ‘Had I insulted this woman at one of my gigs? Did she not like my comedy? Was I on the black list for India?’

“You’re Pakistani?” She asked.

“No, I’m British.”

“Where are you from?”

“England.”

“Where are your parents from?”

“Pakistan.”

“That means you’re Pakistani.”

“No, I’m British, I have a British passport. I love bad weather, queuing and misery, I’m definitely British.

My parents also have British passports and have not lived in Pakistan for 50 years.”

“I’m afraid, Ms Mirza, you are Pakistani and I can’t guarantee that you’ll get a visa. People of Pakistani heritage are not being allowed into the country under the normal procedure. At the moment I have a man who’s been waiting a year to get into India because his parents are of Pakistani origin.”

I reacted calmly and shouted, “You prejudiced bigot. What are you talking about?” Which is not like me at all, normally I would act very British and write a letter of complaint.  But I was shocked at the blatant discrimination.

“I’m not coming to your country to set up a training camp; I just want to make your country laugh!”

“I’m sorry but I don’t make the rules, it is the Indian Government that has decided this.”

Imagine if we applied this procedure to other parts of the world. It’s like someone from the British government saying, “I’m sorry Madam, you can’t come in because you parents are French.

“But I’m Mexican, I was born in Mexico.”

“But your parents are French, and they are renowned trouble makers so I’m afraid you’re not allowed in.”

I’m being punished for my parent’s nationality. Haven’t I been punished enough?

My mother was actually born in India before partition, her parents were killed in the war of Independence in 1947 by the Indians – and they’re not letting me in? Maybe they think I’m coming to take revenge and kill people with my obscene jokes.

She said, “What is your occupation?”

“Comedian.”

“What?”

“A comedian.”

“What’s that?”

“You know, ha ha ha”

She had never heard of the word comedian and was not letting me in because my parents were Pakistani - I’m not sure if India was the place for me.

On stage photo.

My first show was in Pune, and when I told the audience about the difficulty in getting a visa, they roared with laughter. They thought it was a joke.

Later that night after the show, I was talking to an Indian woman who had a German husband and was shocked when I told her it had taken me six months to get a visa just because my parents were originally from Pakistan.

She said, “My husband is German and they let him in no problem.”

I explained to her that Hitler was now dead, but people seem to think he has been re-incarnated back as a Pakistani. Germany is not as scary as Pakistan anymore. She said, “Really, are you serious? Is that why they’re not letting any of your people in?”

My people? I don’t own them; I’m not even the leader. I don’t represent anyone, and moreover, I don’t think these people would want me to represent them. I just want to tell some jokes.

The shows have been great, the audiences wonderful. Men, women young, old, middle class, not-so middle class. It’s been everyone, all up for a good laugh,  everyone laughing at each other, no one individual group of people being attacked, no one offended.  When I told friends I was going to India to perform they said, “You’d better be careful people might be easily offended.”

Why? It’s not like I’m smuggling the entire passport-less population of Pakistan in a cling filmed suitcase with me. The Indian people didn’t treat me any differently because my parents are from Pakistan, they treated me just great.

Let’s not judge a country by its Government, let’s judge it by its people.

 


The author is an award winning stand-up comedian and writer. She has performed all over the world. A columnist for The Guardian UK, she was named Columnist of the Year at the prestigious PPA Awards. Find out more from her website.

 


The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.


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Shazia Mirza is an award winning stand-up comedian and writer. She has performed all over the world. A columnist for The Guardian UK, she was named Columnist of the Year at the prestigious PPA Awards. Find out more from her website. Follow her on Twitter @shaziamirza1.


The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

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Comments (142) Closed




carvaka
Aug 25, 2012 12:27pm
hi, i am sorry that you had such a trouble getting the visa. i just wanted to say this particular rule specific to "pakistani origin" people is a recent addition and came into being after the case of david headley . we may of course argue whether that is reason enough or effective enough or whether there can be any alternative. i hope you enjoyed the stay otherwise.
Azhar Hussain
Aug 25, 2012 03:31pm
You are forget to tell us "Assimilation is the key"? Ever wonder Khan why we living in Punjab never face the same problems? Because we assimilated rather than demand we are different. Try teaching assimilation to your kids, teach them the language of the land i.e. Sindh, their culture and trust me you will feel at home. If you don't believe me, read the history of migration and who succeeded and who did not, and why not?
Iqbal
Aug 25, 2012 11:36am
Yes. The problem lies with our governments - both Pakistani and Indian. People get along perfectly with each other. Your visa application could be approved if they could bother to do some background checks on you. Rather, they make general (blind) policies.
Gj
Aug 25, 2012 03:32pm
Author: how long do you think it takes an Iranian to get British visa, or a cuban takes to get US visa!!
Singh
Aug 26, 2012 08:27pm
I have not read that book and I am not saying that Muslims as a group are the most "prosperous and happy" in India. But our constitution gives them all the protections they need. Muslims are very united in India. They hold the government to task for little things. most of the parties tries to appease them. Their economic backwardness is due partly to their own issues of not following family planning methods hence having fairly big families. This limits their ability to spend on education and higher training. Modern India on the whole does not discriminate against anyone. Modern Pakistan does! I have widely travelled in the parts where Bangladesh Hindu refugees have settled in India. The stories I heard were absolutely heart rending and nauseating!Sharmilla Bose has written has a book after nearly 40 years. There is lot of recall bias and Bangladesh too has has a strong fundamentalist influence . So one would doubt how much truth there was in her book . You just have to look the BBC and your own American media (to whom you were very close in those days) in those days who would collaborate those large scale systematic rapes and atrocities!
Mr Baig
Aug 27, 2012 07:27am
Australian born in Pakistan/ thats strange
john
Aug 26, 2012 03:04pm
you wouldn't be laughing if you had a relative killed in mumbai.
Kulamarva Balakrishna
Aug 26, 2012 10:39am
Vienna,August 26,2012 It is no joke at all. India is fond of Pakistani girls like Veena Malik. They are princesses of Bollywood/Mumbaiwood. They strip,show black tattoos as beauty spots what not. Mirza Khatoon it is because you asked VISA on phone, may be a smart phone you got the funny experience for your show.. Taravadu Taranga Trust for Media Monitoring TTTMM India --Kulamarva Balakrishna
WMSethi
Aug 25, 2012 11:41am
May your tribe increase.
Zimbo_Indian
Aug 25, 2012 04:05pm
I feel sorry for the inconvenience caused to the writer. But, as they say, "Better safe than sorry".
Amit
Aug 25, 2012 11:59am
That was a good piece. Nice work.
aaa
Aug 25, 2012 01:12pm
I think we want it or not we are pakistani. Personally i met different people from UK highl educated professionals and one was 4th generation, in her particular case all her family was in UK even grandfathers all brother and later generations. I asked her what did she feel she was and answer was of course pakistani. Same was true for one other with father from india mother from pakistan she said clearly she felt pakistani. It was strange for me but i guess there must be a reason for this.
Ikram
Aug 28, 2012 06:30am
I was invited to participate in a grains / pulses convention in Mumbai last year. I live in Canada but am of Pakistani origin. I could not get my visa, could not even apply for it. When I wrote to CG of India, their typical reply was ' you have to apply online'... but the application will never go through.. :):) Why Indians are so scared of Pakistanis? Why they feel so vulnerable?
ANANT
Aug 28, 2012 06:03am
Khurram, Then why is she so desperate to come to India?
zubin mehta
Aug 28, 2012 05:29am
'war of independence in 1947'. lol .. that joke made my day..:)
Joseph
Aug 28, 2012 11:21am
Don't you know? Update yourself with recent happenings in India and elsewhere. Its not only India, even certain Gulf countries have banned the visas.
p kumar
Aug 26, 2012 09:56am
its very sad to know her parents were killed in 1947 but she says in the war of independence by indians-doesnt make sense ISI misuses lifting of visa restrictions and mindset of pakistani british is similar to or even more religious than pakistani
Rj
Aug 26, 2012 08:51am
Shazia, im directing this straight to you. I can empathize with fully because I myself have a friend in Australia who is a Pak citizen and required my sponsorship to visit India for a sightseeing tour. Now the sponsor letter needs to be attested by a govt official in India who knows me personally, and is willing to vouch for my character. As I did not know anyone here, it took me ages to find a way out, with the result that my friend is still without a visa. Now I can understand that this is frustrating for people who come to India with all good intentions, but you, at the same time, cannot ignore why such archaic (if i may call it that) laws are in place. We have suffered enough at the hands of the Pakistanis recently, and the first thing any govt would do is raise a red flag the moment they hear of a Pak connection (believe you me, it has come to that). The level of mistrust has risen to levels like never before, and even the common man feels the same angst that the govt felt before it framed such crazy rules. You cannot, I suppose do anything about it but rant, because I dont see such laws giving way to easier laws anytime in the near future. The entire populace of Pakistan (including most people who have nothing to do with anything bad) will have to suffer because of the recent events, and for no fault of theirs. It is a sad and sorry state of affairs, but we have to live through it. In India, whenever SRK goes to the US, he is subjected to extra scrutiny, and one wonders if its because he is a Khan. It is probably that and paranoia is what the world has come to today because of fear of terrorism. No point blaming the poor govt official, its the state of affairs that is to blame.
C. Nandkishore
Aug 26, 2012 09:35am
Now you will appreciate why Ajmal did not apply for a visa but sailed directly from Karachi to Mumbai.
Kulamarva Balakrishna
Aug 27, 2012 12:47pm
Vienna,August 27,2012 Shazia Mirza, haddhogayee. Your are indeed special with so so so much painful sense of halal humour! My salute to you British humour baroness!!! You should have "cabaret" here in Vienna at Statsoper for summer season. Taravadu Taranga Trust for Media Monitoring TTTMM India --Kulamarva Balakrishna
Muhammad Nawaz
Aug 25, 2012 01:11pm
As a matter of fact it's not the only issue with India, there are scores such problems an ordinary citizen faces from both sides particularly from India
rizwan
Aug 25, 2012 12:37pm
i empathise with you SHAZIA. but the govt. these days is too scared. one more blast and all the work done carefully, over all these years, will go down the drain. so, they can't take chances. also, one such person from pakistani heritage, D. HEADLY, was involved in one such act. so, my view, govt. is right even if it is at the cost of laughter.
hari
Aug 25, 2012 12:18pm
The reason is David Headley and his role in 2008 Mumbai attacks.
aa
Aug 25, 2012 05:02pm
In 2005 US government imposed similar restriction on all Pakistani origin visitors, irrespective of the passport they carried.
bkt
Aug 26, 2012 05:12pm
Shazia Mirza is a wonderful comedian so I am really glad that the Indians finally let her in. On the otehr hand India and Pakistan are both plain wrong to stop each other's nationals from coming in. Each year cows from India brave the trek to the border and fly over twenty foot fences all by themselves! They love coming to Pakistan, so why not let Indians come visit wonderful Pakistan and let Pakistanis visit wonderful India? There would be more trust, more friendship and more happiness if the borders were open. Of course politicians in India wouldnt have a bogey man to scare kids with or get more votes in elections. If Holy cows love coming to Pakistan, why stop Pakistanis going the other way?
surrinder gill USA
Aug 25, 2012 10:57pm
I applied a Pak visa on USA passport in 2009. Being Sikh they asked me am I Indian. I told the visa officer that I was born at Lahore one month before creation of Pak and then Lahore was a city of India. he did not agreed. I requested him that I love whole Punjab from Sindh to Jamuna as my home and Sikh have more attachment and love for the Punjab now with Pak. Nankana sahib, panja sahib and kartarpur are as pious for us as Macca and Madina for you. But he took 5 days to grant me only one entry visa. He said any person of Indian origin can not stay more than 15 days. A white man with me was granted visa in 30 mnts. I mean story is same on both sides. Governments divide us for their motives. We are same race, same language and same in all aspects. Long live PUNJAB, India and Pakistan.
Dev
Aug 27, 2012 09:45am
Funnily the countries(India and Pak) allow to get in each others leaders very easily, it is just the general public that is harassed.
Sri1
Aug 27, 2012 09:37am
Man, give Shazia a break - she is an ignorant second generation UK citizen of Pakistani origin, did you really expect her to know exactly how her grandparents died? Maybe it was during the migration of crowds due to partition. Or maybe they were aiding the British and were killed by Indians for being traitors to the cause of independence.. Or maybe they were just coincidentally killed during the same timeline. Or maybe, she somehow imbibed the history textbooks in the deep state that could say anything about Indians, as long as its derogatory.
Zubair
Aug 26, 2012 01:11am
Hey buddy, I am surprised that you are only the second person to notice that. The first question that popped in my mind and no body else seems to talk about it. Seems very improbable indeed !
Imran
Aug 27, 2012 09:24am
My feeling exactly. Who in their right mind would want to go to India of all places!!!
monsieur
Aug 27, 2012 09:43am
Her grandparents were killed by the Indians (as mentioned in the article) and she still has the heart to just come and make you people laugh!
Imran
Aug 27, 2012 09:21am
It is Indians who are obsessed with Pakistan , not the other way round. Just see how many Indians are commenting here. Then go to Times of India and tell me how many Pakistanis you see there.
Mohinder sandhu
Aug 26, 2012 01:15am
Ms mirza you are really funny, what you say is very correct,but what can you do? Pakistan is obsessed with india and do not leave a chance to hurt india.Pakistanis can accuse us of same but all the books i read in the library here in canada point finger at pakistan.All the facts presented by pakistanis are so out of line, one cannot even argue with them.they are fed with the history that is so distorted.Just go and watch their talk show you will understand what i am talking about.But i also know all this has to change . intellectuals educationists scientists and people from art sector should be allowed in,not only allowed in but should be welcomed,they are gonna benefit india.But Thanks for visiting my country.
Purnendu Pattnaik
Aug 26, 2012 01:26am
when you leave your citizenship...you have to surrender your passport in the embassy or consulate in the foreign country. This is common sense. The VISA officials are not there to decide case by case, they are there to follow rules.. and rules are created from experience and by experts...
Kunal
Aug 26, 2012 01:27am
Yes, they did .....have you heard of David Headle the main planner.......
Timmy
Aug 26, 2012 01:28am
True they did not require passport, but does that mean we should start providing them with a passport?
Timmy
Aug 26, 2012 01:30am
sorry, visa.
Khan
Aug 25, 2012 12:45pm
What are we talking about? My father migrated from India in 1946. I was born and raised in Pakistani. When i applied for my domicile in Karachi Sindh, I had to fill out all the irrelevant information about my fore fathers. Being a gold medalist i was declined the job in PIA because my domicile was not from Punjab. We are still being called as MUHAJIRS. So please count your blessing as I am counting my blessing as an American. It
Masood Hussain
Aug 25, 2012 12:50pm
Shazia has un- necessarily taken it badly, the British visa office,knowing her a comedian,were trying to be funny, just to humour her.Theydidn't know that being British,you could laugh at others only.
Tamilselvan
Aug 26, 2012 02:00am
You are wrong and ask him to contact Trivisa the outsourcing agency for Indian visa. He has to show his birth certificate that he is from India and needs to show proof tthat he has surrendered his citizenship or pay the charges for doing it. Everyone knows tat the green card needs to be surrendered when he gets his US citizenship
Tamil Arasan
Aug 27, 2012 09:30am
I am happy that the Indian embassy is taking at most care in issuing visa to people of Pakistan origin compared to German or other nationals - because till today none of the terror attacks happened in India have any link with Germany or people of German origin - Madam just few months back David Coleman Headley (born Daood Sayed Gilani) USA passport holder came on tourist visa to India and he did the surveillance for the Mumbai terror attack 26/11, also he is the rout cause behind the Pune terror attack...
Sami
Aug 25, 2012 11:08pm
Loved this piece. Lighthearted but poignant. We need voices like this, that we can relate to, thankyou.
raman
Aug 25, 2012 03:07pm
i think, Shazia Mirza, has not gone trough the text books on history and what they tell on India, authored, printed, published and prescribed,by pakistan's government for their school chilfren! she is really a comedian!
manmohan gandhi
Aug 25, 2012 12:41pm
All governments must make general rules for decision making - India is no exception. The general rule in this category must be that all Pakistanis/Pakistani origin applicants are potential terrorists UNLESS there are compelling reasons to decide otherwise. It is not the job of an ordinary visa officer to decide whether these compelling reasons are operative. This must be decided by the competent authoriies in New Delhi. Such authorities have other work to do and not just look after visa seekers. Hence the time. If you do not like this, you can always stay at home; there is no need to come to India. Government of India has its primary obligations to its people who have no wish to have another Mumbai 26/11 on their hands. PERIOD.
Muhammad Junaid
Aug 25, 2012 08:41pm
it is really a glad to came to know that u got the visa in just 11 days even u dont have any relatives there?? i feel u r also not do comedy with Shazia Mirza..
Jayakumar
Aug 25, 2012 09:14pm
Exactly , but anyway a funny reply !!!
Zeta
Aug 26, 2012 09:24am
When was the last time some indian was harmed in Pakistan. Particularly talk about current time like after 2000. Do you even remember the hospitality of Pakistanis when indian cricket fans came in here in 2004 and then 2006 i guess
fareed
Aug 25, 2012 09:21pm
To All my Indian Friends the 26/11 terrorist did'nt come to india through any indian airport or by getting any visa...
AcclaimedMan
Aug 27, 2012 08:39am
Why you guys want to come to India anyway? You should make trips to Pakistan !!!
AcclaimedMan
Aug 27, 2012 08:34am
And the killer being Pakistani nationals !!!
AcclaimedMan
Aug 27, 2012 08:35am
They are subject to extra scrutiny worldwide, not just by India !!!
AcclaimedMan
Aug 27, 2012 08:36am
This applies to Shazia !!!
AcclaimedMan
Aug 27, 2012 08:37am
But if visa regime is liberalized, they will !!!
Satish Sharma
Aug 26, 2012 02:09am
"My mother was actually born in India before partition, her parents were killed in the war of Independence in 1947 by the Indians
john
Aug 26, 2012 02:11am
mate the fact is we dont want your tribe back here, for any reason whatsoever, it starts here and ends here
jilani
Aug 27, 2012 11:56am
i really appreciate that you feel sorry for it...
Raw Agent
Aug 29, 2012 04:06pm
166 people but I m with you ajay..!!
Ajay
Aug 25, 2012 11:53am
You may be right but its a fact that there have been US citizens of Pakistani origin who have come to India for terrorist activities; So the Indian Govt. has to look at each application carefully; So the application for people of Pakistani origin takes longer; (more than a week or two). But they do get visas (even though it takes more time). its also a fact that there are many British citizens of Pakistani origin who are terrorist sympathizers; Thats a fact which you can not overlook; why dont you write a column about them ? Or are you too scared of doing so ?
V K
Aug 25, 2012 01:24pm
well well well... Its not just government thing I guess. I remember when I applied for Indian visa from Thailand, Embassy guys were shocked when I told them I am pakistani!!! but anyways once they were sure I am not a trouble maker, they were very polite and helpful!!! given the trouble Idiots in backyard create every now and then, are pakistanis entitled for any respect whatsoever??? We get much more than we deserve worldwide.... thank you the world!!!
XYZ
Aug 25, 2012 08:19pm
This policy was most likely put in place after 26/11 Mumbai attacks, b/c David Hadley was of Pakistani origin, born in USA and visited India several times on a tourist visa to scout locations for the attack.
Zeta
Aug 26, 2012 09:26am
Security agencies shouldn't need 6 months or 1 year to clear visa. This much time taken in clearance of visa tell you how incompetent and inept indian security agencies are
Singh
Aug 26, 2012 08:40am
There are indeed a group of Muslim fundamentalists who hold a very strong "hate campaign" against India and Hindus in general. Unfortunately this kind of propaganda starts quite early. I was reading how the school books in Pakistan demonise Hindus. Where as in fact, Hindus have been the relative victims either during the long Muslim rule in India by way of jazia tax, post partition riots or Operation Search Light in Bangladesh where thousands of Hindu women were systematically raped and the Hindu intelluctuals from Dhaka University were gunned down in cold blood. It well known from independent sources as well that in Operation Search Light between 4 to 20 lakhs people were killed and murdered and there were unusually high number of Hindus in it. Looking inside I don't think India is proud of its human rights violations and killings in Kashmir or killings of Muslims in Gujrat for that matter. It is a blot on this nation's secular credentials. But moving ahead in this global world this "eye for eye" ideology won't work now. One would have to look ahead and start this relationship building at the grass roots and young age.
Weary Indian
Aug 26, 2012 08:33am
To Shazia & all pakistani origin people, 1. Ten PakistaniTerrorist killers could sneak in with weapons and indiscriminately murder 164 people and wounding at least 308, only after the necessary preliminary groundwork was done by David Headley( Daud Gilani -American citizen with only 50% paki parentage) and Pakistani ISI and army personnel who used normal Business visa and cricket fan's visa respectively. Headley's visa application was fast tracked, he came ( via airports brandishing his visa)5 times before the attack and even visited at least once(March 2009) after the attack to scout for more targets. His Moroccan wife Faiza came at least twice and stayed with him in the same hotels that were attacked. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Headley#Participation_in_2008_Mumbai_attacks 2.During the investigations into the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, it came to light how Pakistani terrorists and ISI operatives exploited the visas ( as cricket fan's accompanying their team) in plotting terror attacks against India. During the interrogation of Syed Zabiuddin Ansari it was revealed that a Pakistan Army officer, Major Abdur Rehman, and Lashkar-e-Toiba activist Sajid Mir, who were in
Neo
Aug 26, 2012 08:33am
yep agreed, but who knows... can you guarantee that none of your lot comes to india suited booted but with nefarious designs...btw for your information, david headley was a terrorist who came to mumbai with a tourist visa.... so that settles the argument.. period.
Neo
Aug 26, 2012 08:27am
and no harm in being careful... lets be that rather apologetic to our very own citizens....
Neo
Aug 26, 2012 08:25am
lol... guess what nasah, she might have to spend another few months getting a US visa too... courtesy, her unfortunate pakistani origination.... as far aman ki aasha, india has always extended a olive branch even when 100s of its citizens are killed by barbarians coming from across the border... hope you got my point... just pointing out sarcasticaly about aman ki aasha wont help here.
Karthik
Aug 26, 2012 10:37am
Its very difficult as you are innocent and by right you shouldnt have to go through all the hassles. But its similar to me applying for a US Visa and getting it approved with much difficulty... why? because some uneducated indians enter US and violate visa rules... so this type of stereotyping happens. Like it or not, you are clubbed into the same bandwagon as Kasab, Hafiz Saeed or Ilyas Kashmiri - who are enemies of India and believe in mass destruction and mass slaughtering of Hindus!
deep
Aug 26, 2012 08:20am
I suppose you and the author have not heard of headley - who did the essential groundwork for 26/11
Sam
Aug 26, 2012 08:19am
right... although them came from pakisatan...
Jean Verlander
Aug 27, 2012 05:20am
She might be of Pakistani descent but she sure has got a British sense of humour. I like her.
Civi varghese
Aug 25, 2012 08:26pm
The government of india takes precautions against terrorism.If not 26/11 may be repeated.Prevention is better than cure?
ajay mahajan
Aug 28, 2012 09:47pm
that this happens doesn't make it less bizarre. am all for an opener easier visa policy with necessary safeguards. there is need for much much more sharing and understanding and then laughing together... not 'at' each other. glad shazia made it to India and hope she will again.... Indians and Pakistani's are largely the same cultural stock historical stock, like it or not.. and so too its high time we sorted our histories and present and all bigoted thinking and views.. like some of these posts painfully reflect.. (they also show the limited communication and understanding... or unwillingness to let go of narrow beliefs...) think shazia would agree that understanding is as imp as laughing... and theyre both even better together... :-)
G. Thind
Aug 27, 2012 02:53am
Now that all of you guys have finished with your raves and rants on one another I might as well point out that Mirza has got you all by the tails. She has played a good comedy sitting at home with no agents, advertisements and/or stage. Well done!
Aqdas
Aug 26, 2012 07:53am
Well not surprised reminds me of Khawaja from australia.Who is a well known crickter but was initially denied visa while granted to all others.The david headley excuse is just an eye wash.
Atif khan
Aug 26, 2012 07:33am
Aussie born in Pak...I get into USA without visa ...we need to log onto USA immigration site 48hours before we fly out ... Let's not justify what our incompetent governments. Let's not forget both India and Pak have had rediculous visa conditions even before this terrorism problem.... Tell your respective gov to stop bully innocent ppl.
Pollack
Aug 27, 2012 05:48am
He is talking about the civilized world.
Atif khan
Aug 26, 2012 07:22am
I m Australian born in Pakistan. I go to the USA a few times and they let me in, we don't even need a visa to USA. I ask me few more questions than usual but it's all very professiona. Ppl from both sides ( India and Pak) should stand up to their governments and tell them we want ppl to ppl contact. U can't have a minority take majority as a hostage. If ppl want to enter India to make trouble all they need to do is go to nepal and enter I don't see what the fuss is.... I m sure a lot of trouble makers from Pak do that...also indians can go to Afghanistan and enter Pak illegally .... Pls stop this visa non sense ... Once we open the borders these small group of extremist from both sides will realize they have lost their games..love and peace to all
NASAH (USA)
Aug 25, 2012 04:24pm
So much for the "Aman ki Asha" -- great piece Ms Shazia! Please come to the United States we want to hear you -- or have you?
generalcuriosity
Aug 26, 2012 07:13am
"Pakistanis love to complain about getting Indian visas, but are unable to guarantee basic safety to Indians visiting their country." Sadly, these days they cannot guarantee basic safety to other Pakistanis either.
Makaty
Aug 26, 2012 06:59am
In 2006, I got the Indian visa from Paris embassy in a day. In 2007 when I decided to take my teenage children (born in France) to India to show them some of their cultural heritage, both got the visa immediately whereas me, their mother, born in Pakistan did not get one... My husband also of Gujarati origins and born elsewhere got the visa immediately too... So funny!! I wanted my kids to learn more about their ancestral home and its rich history. I ask myself what sort of precaution is this?
sb
Aug 25, 2012 04:41pm
Shazia - Think of the many Hindoos who'd like to go back and visit their parent's places of birth, but cannot due to security and other issues. Then thank your stars that you made it to India safe and God willing, you will return home safe too. Pakistanis love to complain about getting Indian visas, but are unable to guarantee basic safety to Indians visiting their country.
Rajesh
Aug 25, 2012 04:41pm
Well said. Another Pakistani friend had a similar story to share.
walkerjay
Aug 25, 2012 04:41pm
Please do come to Bangalore, Shazia Mirza, with your airline pilot licence and other gags! Please do.
Raw Agent
Aug 29, 2012 04:10pm
Love u Kaly..!! You hit the nail on the head...!! @Imran: One should know how to write for commenting ... lol
sri
Aug 26, 2012 06:11am
is it possible the visa officer paused because she might have heard it as "Sania Mirza" - who is a tennis player from india - and wondering why sania needs a visa - vs shazia mirza- so mirza is a muslim name from both sides -
sri
Aug 26, 2012 06:06am
Dude - a good one :)
Sachin Jain
Aug 26, 2012 05:56am
Again..as i have pointed out above...the operation only became possible due to the groundwork done by those pakistani operatives who visited india on tourist visa, on Non pakistani passports. Once bitten, twice shy!
adam
Aug 26, 2012 05:53am
David Coleman Headley (American of half-Pakistani origin) changed some things. It's not just persons of Pakistani origin but all nationalities now have restricted multiple entry visas because of the role of Headley in Mumbai attacks.
Sachin Jain
Aug 26, 2012 05:49am
yes..agreed! But those who did the groundwork for the terrorist operation did come through the airports using passports of countries' other than pakistan, but had pakistani roots.
Guru
Aug 26, 2012 05:41am
If people are given visas liberally, it may lead to increased ease with which the dubious ones will get in. Let the visa restrictions remain.
Khurram
Aug 27, 2012 11:01am
John did you really miss the part where she talked about her grandparents or are you just too brainwashed ?
Mustafa Razavi
Aug 25, 2012 04:44pm
Somebody should ask this "secular" Indian government on what basis do they differentiate between a Hindu Pakistani and a Muslim Pakistani?
generalcuriosity
Aug 25, 2012 12:07pm
The author is a comedian, not a political analyst. Are you related to the lady at the visa office?
American
Aug 27, 2012 11:04am
The Pakistani Consulate in New York wanted to 'process the business visa Application in Islamabad' that could take 6 months instead of the normal 3-5 days if it was done in New York...all because I was born in India, even though I am now a US Citizen. A phone call to the consul general fixed that, though.
Ragu
Aug 25, 2012 12:55pm
All changes of heart that bring about peace and tolerance occur because of individuals thinking differently and not wanting to follow the established norms of 'bias'. This Pakistani comedian is full of life and the world needs more like her. May GOD gove her a long life and give all of us more humans like her.
RAO
Aug 25, 2012 01:03pm
Is ISI of Pakistan part of Pakistani Govt?
Dennis
Aug 26, 2012 04:43am
It's obvious...they're afraid they might die laughing.
malik
Aug 26, 2012 04:35am
I applied for Indian visa here in Vancouver last year in August and have not heard from them until now.
malik
Aug 26, 2012 04:35am
So true
Bob
Aug 25, 2012 04:48pm
Another silly comment. Indian people *want* their Government to protect them from nutjobs across the border. They do want Pakistanis to come over, but have to be careful. The question is about how to balance caution and open borders. I am sure Pakistan Government does the same thing.
Kaly
Aug 25, 2012 04:48pm
Now common Pakistani can realize how the whole world thinks about you, nobody wants to trust you, come out from your radicalism, it is the duty of common Pakistani to get rid of this nonsense. Hope one day things will be normal, Pakistan is in deep problem... and the saddest part is so many good Pakistanis are there....
Robin
Aug 26, 2012 04:10am
maybe England does a thorough screening themselves before sending the visa request over to Indian authorities. because any misdeeds by the British passport holder will be termed 'British' in the newspapers and not Pakistani.
Joe
Aug 26, 2012 05:15pm
Tell that to a Bangladeshi.
lida
Aug 27, 2012 01:14pm
The passport don't make you a british. This showed that !
Guest
Aug 25, 2012 06:32pm
She is not a Pakistani comedian, she is a British comedian and a very good one.
Ashfaq
Aug 25, 2012 06:40pm
I am sure you are one of the high officials of the Indian Governement; the brain stops working the higher you go up!
Nadeem Khan
Aug 25, 2012 06:41pm
Gandhi gi I agree with you as the treatment is given to Indians by Pakistani Consulates is similar as we in Pakistan do not want a repeat of Cross border terrorism of 1970 when Indian Goverment trained Mukhti Bahinis in Bangladesh and LTTE which Indians used to spread terrorism in Sri Lanka and currently Indian consulate in Afgahnistan bordering Pakistan and spreading Terrorism in Baluchistan and NWFP. Govt of Pakistan has the same primary obligations.
Secular Pakistani
Aug 25, 2012 06:55pm
well i dnt know how much true this story is bt being a pakistan and citizen of Waziristan though living in karachi from the past 40 years, in 2009 when i applied for indian visa to meet few of my friends.as well to see india i got my visa in just 11 days.if i am nt wrong may be the woman was acting funny with you? there might be some other reason.call centre cant talk so.i am sure
Deepen C
Aug 25, 2012 05:30pm
The whole world thinks thrice before allowing any Pakistani into their country. Pakistanis have worked hard for decades to earn that kind of special treatment.
Indian
Aug 26, 2012 02:21am
Why are Pakistanis so interested in coming to India anyways? We parted ways in 1947..for good. You would do much better if you spent time in improving your society and country. Most Indians of my generation don't know much about pakistan and do not intend to visit Pakistan. We wish you happiness though.....in your own country.
Harvey G
Aug 26, 2012 12:53am
I'm an indian but i was born in pakistan before partion (1947 ) Now i live in a wonderful country canada for the last 54 years, every time i cross the american border i'm being harrassed because i was born in pakistan, even though i don;t require a visa.This is so much pakistanis have respect.
BasKya
Aug 26, 2012 12:45am
So why give formal visa :)
Rajeev
Aug 26, 2012 12:51am
Getting Indian Visa from Pakistan is much easier than getting Indian Visa from UK, USA or Canada. She must be right. A few of our Pakistani friends who wanted to apply Indian Visa was instructed by Indian consulate in Canada that if they want it faster they should go to Pakistan and apply from there. it will be much faster.
Joseph
Aug 27, 2012 12:04pm
Hi Shazia, I read about the hard time you underwent to obtain the Indan visit visa and greatly regret that. However, for obvious reasons, its qutie understandable why the Indian visas for Pakistanis take so long to be issued. After Headley and all the numerous incidents, thats nothing. I'd like to bring to your notice the visa siuation in Kuwait for Pakistanis. Kuwait despite being an Islamic country has totally banned all sorts of visas for Pakistanis and the immigration computers are just unable to process the visas, so much so, that even a child born in Pakistan to Pakistani parents who are legal residents in Kuwait cannot get a visa. Something terrible - isn't it? Why???
Shaukat
Aug 25, 2012 11:19pm
and you think the terrorist will come to the consulate to get the visa.#2.She is saying she is not Pakistani you fool.She is a British,period.
Syed Husain
Aug 27, 2012 02:25am
I agree. Hatred will take us no where.
AK
Aug 26, 2012 10:25am
On the subject of Begladesh atrocities, have you read Sharmila Bose's book "Dead Reckoning"? Have you also read the govt commission's report on state of Muslims in India? We all have committed atrocities against each other in South Asia... instead of pointing fingers at each other and trying to figure out who was the bigger villian, how about we all say sorry to each other, shake hands and move on with life?
arshedrafiq
Aug 25, 2012 02:36pm
Mumbai was not carried out on tourist visa sir
Indian
Aug 25, 2012 02:17pm
Madam,we apologize for any inconveniences caused due to the delay in visa.....please try to understand that David Coleman Headley has changed the indian perception about granting visas....after 26/11 we are more carefull....we are not saying that you have any harmful intentions....but we are just being careful...again..sorry for the inconvenience caused....enjoy your stay in india
Ahmar
Aug 25, 2012 02:07pm
She does not become a British just because her parents managed to acquire a British passport by whatever means for the sake of convenience.
Ajay
Aug 26, 2012 02:41pm
Tell this to the relatives of 176 people who died in 26/11 attack.
Conrad Taylor
Aug 27, 2012 05:45pm
But Joseph
Jay
Aug 25, 2012 01:50pm
A name like Shazia Mirza could belong to an Indian too and it seems almost improbable that any official at the Indian High Commission would straightaway ask you if you're Pakistani. Unlike Pakistani's who may never have seen people of other religions in their own country (because they are almost non-existent), Indians are born into social diversity. However I do appreciate the humour in your article. Keep up the good work.
farooq
Aug 25, 2012 11:51am
A fine read. I'm all smiles:) I haven't heard about your act but i'll search your stand up comedy talent on youtube.
Tamilselvan
Aug 25, 2012 12:16pm
Mr. Hedley was like the writer. One parent was from Pakistan and he had a US passport and was given a visitor's visa and he was the scout for the massacare of innocent lives in Mumbai. Yes, the official was correct and as the saying goes "Once bitten twice shy". Sorry, they have to be careful. Try getting a US visa if you claim your parents were American but you grew up in Pakistan and see how long one has to wait provided they are not already on the no-fly zone. Don't you think Brits are concerned when they have home grown terrorists who are of Pakistan origin?
Zeta
Aug 26, 2012 09:21am
By the "Whole world" you actually mean india and US. Well these two countries don't constitute entire world.. There are over 200 sovereign countries in the world. 204 of them don't have any problem. OK lets just keep you happy, 202 of them don't have any problem
kumaarsauraj
Aug 27, 2012 11:49am
Indians won't apply for a Visa to go to India.
Akshara
Aug 27, 2012 10:46am
Apologies on behalf of my country. It's strange that Indian authorities worry so much about people applying for visas yet are lethargic over porous borders and poor border security
harshal
Aug 27, 2012 09:09am
superlike
Shubs
Aug 27, 2012 08:59am
We had a 'War of Independence' in 1947? how did my history teacher miss that one!
Ikram
Aug 29, 2012 07:54pm
Kaly, what good are your people to your own minorities. Pakistanis get bad press for petty things but India gets away with erasing of Mosques, demolition of churches, attacks on golden temple, raping of nuns... and so on... Pakistan does not come even close to it. ( I am talking about India as a country and individual like you who live in denial)
Amir Shah
Aug 27, 2012 12:18am
We are coming to liberate India
Sana
Aug 27, 2012 12:21am
Would've been there loss if they hadn't let you in, I quite enjoy your work :)
Indian
Aug 27, 2012 01:43am
You should first ask the Moslem populace of Pakistan, on what basis they have been discriminating against the Hindus since partition.
Swaranjit
Aug 27, 2012 11:37pm
her grandparents were also,funnily or not, Indians, and none else!
Shubs
Aug 27, 2012 06:59am
A consular officer working in the Indian Consulate in Britain asks what's a comedian?? Yeah, right. Save that one for your shows.
Sameer
Aug 27, 2012 06:12am
Try going to continental Europe? You will be subjected to an intense review while granting the visa and special physical checks at the Airport.. The whole world is weary of the Pakistani connection that surfaces every time there is a terrorist attack by jehadi groups. Please dont live in denial.
Kaly
Aug 29, 2012 04:25am
Do something good for the mankind and then talk (I am talking about Pakistan as a country and not individual like you).
Kaly
Aug 29, 2012 04:33am
The reason probably is very few common Pakistanis can write/read English, while in India it is very common....got it?
Sriram
Aug 27, 2012 05:18am
It does appear that the humour in the article is lost on most of the commenters.
rasheed
Aug 26, 2012 09:50am
great reply yaaaaaaar
TJ
Aug 25, 2012 12:21pm
The Indian government seems more incompetent than malicious. I know someone who became an American citizen 30 years ago and never got yo travel to india again. He now needs to take his son to India for alternative medical treatment. The Indian consulate wants his old Indian passport from 30 years ago, and his now defunct US green card document to issue him a simple tourist visa which they would to any normal US citizen within a day. Shameful!