Hyderabad: Renowned Pakistani singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan was in for a shock when he landed as Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA). For, within moments of landing in Hyderabad on an Emirates flight, he was barred entry and asked to return to Abu Dhabi. The Ustad had travelled to the city to perform at a New Year eve event at the iconic Taj Falaknuma Palace.
Immigration authorities at RGIA attributed Rahat’s deportation to “technical flaws”. According to immigration rules, Pakistani nationals can’t enter India through Hyderabad; the legal ports of entry by air are Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai.
“That’s why the singer was asked to return to Abu Dhabi and travel to the city through the valid entry points,” the official said. He added, “If a Pakistani national enters through any other airport, except the four metros, his/her travel to India cannot be recorded. So it is mandatory that they stick to the four ports. This system has been put in place to monitor the movement of Pakistani nationals in and out of the country.”
Due to his unexpected deportation, the performance of the Ustad scheduled for 8 pm was rescheduled for 11 pm. When contacted, a member of the event organizing team, Apurva, reported Times of india.
Incidentally, the Sufi music event at the Falaknuma Palace was designed to promote harmony through Hyderabad’s heritage and culture.