Mumbai- In a landmark decision, the Bombay High Court has resoundingly denied a legal petition seeking to impose a ban on Pakistani artists from engaging in professional activities within India. The case, brought forth by Faaiz Anwar Qureshi, a self-professed cine worker and artist, aimed to prohibit Indian citizens and companies from any association with Pakistani cine workers, including musicians, singers, lyricists, and technicians.
A division bench, comprised of Justices Sunil Shukre and Firdosh Pooniwalla, unequivocally dismissed the plea. They stated that such an action would represent a regressive step in nurturing cultural unity and harmony, both within India and across its border with Pakistan.
The court’s ruling emphasized the notion that true patriotism is not expressed through hostility towards foreign nationals, particularly those from neighboring nations. They articulated, “A true patriot is a person who is selfless, who is devoted to the cause of his country, which he cannot be unless he is a person who is good at heart. A person who is good at heart would welcome in his country any activity which promotes peace, harmony, and tranquillity within the country and across the border.”
The bench underlined the unifying power of the arts, recognizing that activities such as music, sports, culture, and dance transcend national and cultural boundaries. They underscored the pivotal role such endeavors play in fostering a sense of unity and peace between nations.
Moreover, the court commended the Indian government’s proactive measures to allow the participation of Pakistan’s cricket team in the ongoing World Cup in India, citing Article 51 of the Indian Constitution, which emphasizes the promotion of global peace and security.
The petitioner also sought to halt the issuance of visas to Pakistani artists and impose penalties on those who disregarded the proposed ban, arguing that the presence of Pakistani artists in India during the World Cup could negatively impact employment opportunities for Indian artists. However, the court found no merit in these contentions, asserting that it falls outside the judiciary’s purview to mandate government actions or policies.
In a resounding verdict, the Bombay High Court has affirmed the importance of cultural exchange and the unifying power of the arts in promoting peace and harmony between nations. This decision sets a notable precedent in the realm of cultural diplomacy and cooperation on the international stage.