Why did PISA ditch some guests last minute?

Undeniably, PISA 2021 was a grand affair, with celebrities showing up to the glamorous Dubai venue in luxurious cars, and their best evening wear. Behind the glamorous façade however, the PISA management’s fumbles have caused major outrage.

Before the event itself was held this weekend, all celebrity guests had been given invitations which covered their flight expenses as well as their stay in Dubai for the duration of these awards. In a shocking move however, PISA decided to leave some of their guests behind last minute – that also, without clearly informing them!

The first complainants were the Baluch Twins, who first found out they wouldn’t be attending, while they sat in the waiting room for their flight at Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport on Friday. They reported seeing all the other guests make their way to board the plane, while they had to remain seated. The night before, they had been informed by the PISA coordinator through a casual text that their flight had been cancelled by Emirates. However, no valid reason was given, so they decided to visit the airline’s head office. Here they were told that no such cancellation had taken place, they still had two tickets to their name and were all set for a timely departure. Relying on this information, the Twins had shown up to the airport, only to be snubbed once again. Later, they found out through their travel agent that PISA had cancelled their tickets and had even requested a refund.

While watching the drama unfold and realizing that they had been left behind - after PISA kept them engaged for three months and requested them to delay other commitments - the shocked and upset artists uploaded a video from the waiting room of the Jinnah International Airport.

They shared details of the background and the hodgepodge of misinformation and miscommunication from PISA’s end. They went on to comment on how disappointing and humiliating this whole ordeal had been for them and their family. There seemed to be an element of discrimination as well; they believed that the reason they had been snubbed over others was because of their Baluch ethnicity and their disadvantaged background.

Respondents from PISA were quick to deny allegations of discrimination. They claimed that the mismanagement had occurred as a result of shooting ticket prices as a result of the T20 cricket matches, which were also being held in Dubai. Incidentally, PISA’s expenses had shot up, and according to Waqar Rizvi, the Project Head at PISA, the surge and flight cancellations were the primary reasons why they were left behind.

Similar reports rose from musicians like the bands Bayaan, Mughal-e-Funk, and the increasingly popular Young Stunners, all of whom were also left behind as a result of the logistical mess and subsequent mismanagement.

While the Young Stunners had backed out ahead of time, they expressed their disappointment at the PISA management for following a clear hierarchy. They rightly pointed out that if all other celebrities could be accommodated, despite the flight cancellations, then by what criteria had the Baluch Twins not made the cut?

Bayaan’s bassist, Haider Abbas, also reflected on how they found out about PISA’s snub the same way as the Baluch Twins had. However, he pointed out how devastated the young Baluch Twins were by the whole ordeal, and how it was inherently disrespectful and discriminatory.

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