New Delhi, Feb 2:
Veteran actor Anupam Kher on Tuesday said he has been denied a Pakistan visa for his visit to Karachi for a literature festival for the second time. A Pakistani diplomat here however said that he has “not submitted” any visa application.
“Have been informed that Pakistan MoFA has denied permission for my visa to participate in the Karachi Literature festival. Sad to have been denied visa on second time in a year, while around 17 people will participate in the Karachi Literature Festival as guests,” Anupam shared on Twitter.
It was in May last year that the actor was denied a visa to Pakistan. He was due to visit Lahore for an event hosted by an NGO, but according to reports, back then it was denied on security grounds.
This time, he was invited as a guest at the three-day Karachi Literature Festival, which begins on Friday. Among the Indians who will be present at the literature festival are Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, Rahul Singh, Om Arora, Urvashi Butalia and Ashok Chopra.
Upset about the visa denial, Anupam tweeted: “Has my visa been denied because I speak about India’s rich tradition of tolerance or I am a Kashmiri Pandit who may expose Pak terror nexus? Indian government welcomes Pakistan based writers, artists, actors etc. Pakistan government bans entry of Indian actors. Why fear a free dialogue,” he tweeted.
“Didn’t Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs red flag my name to Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi? Why hide facts deliberately? Pakistan High Commission should know their own rules. #KarachiLitFest had given my name to authorities 1 month back and have my name in every poster.”
Moreover, the actor, who was chosen to be conferred the Padma Bhushan — India’s third highest civilian award — said he feels “bad for all those people who were looking forward to meet me in Pakistan and vice versa”.
“Sorry to them. Hopefully one day,” he added.
Manzoor Ali Memon, a diplomat from the Pakistan High Commission, told IANS: “He (Anupam Kher) has not submitted (any) visa application. Please check out from him if he has any receipt.”
This, Anupam, said on a TV channel, is a “laughable explanation”.
He said he wanted to be in Pakistan to meet the people as exchange of ideas is important.
“It is important to discuss about books, countries… I wanted to talk about my country as well, the problems of Kashmiri Pandits, and also speak about anti-terrorism — an issue that even Pakistan is suffering with,” he said.
Later on Tuesday, Anupam will address the media at his acting institute in Mumbai. (IANS)