New Zealand treated me like terrorist, says Pakistani writer

May 17th, 2009 - 6:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Wellington, May 17 (DPA) Pakistani writer Mohammed Hanif, who won a British Commonwealth writers’ prize for his first book, said Sunday he was treated like a terrorist by customs officials when he arrived in New Zealand.
Hanif told Radio New Zealand he dedicated his prize for best first book in the Commonwealth of 53 independent states to the officials who inspected his underwear and read his notebook at Auckland international airport. He was detained for two hours.

He said the experience made him feel like a terrorist and he was tempted to boycott the awards ceremony at the Auckland and Writers’ and Readers’ Festival Saturday night and go home, but he did not like the idea of another 28-hour flight.

Hanif, whose book “A Case of Exploding Mangoes” was described as a fast-paced political satire, said he travelled frequently and discrimination against people with Muslim names is now pretty commonplace.

Australian Christos Tsiolkas won the overall best book prize for his novel “The Slap”.

The two were chosen from eight regional winners of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan and South Africa.

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