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HENB | New Delhi and Karachi | Feb 2, 2015:: Veteran actor Anupam Kher claims in his twitter handle @ he has been denied visa by Pakistan to attend the Karachi Literature Festival, which is slated to be held on February 5. However, the culpable Pakistan High Commission claimed that Kher had not even applied for the visa.
Speaking to CNN-IBN, Kher expressed his disappointment, saying 17 out of 18 people were granted the visa while he was the only one who wasn’t granted the same.
Confirming that he has not been issued a visa, Kher told PTI today that he was very saddened by the development as he was looking forward to participate in the festival and use the platform to dispel misunderstandings in the minds of people there.
“We welcome their artistes in India. If there are objections to their performance at one place in India they are welcome at other places. But there is no reciprocity,” he said.
As to why his visa has not been issued, Kher said, “I wish I knew. I am wondering if it is because I am a Kashmiri Pandit or because of my views on the tolerance debate in India.”
Kher said the visa denial has left the festival organisers embarrassed and they have apologised to him. The 60-year-old actor, Kher, whose wife is a BJP MP from Chandigarh, was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India’s third-highest civilian honour, recently and has been a vocal supporter of the Narendra Modi-led BJP government at the Centre.
Kher is a face known for his Hindutva passion for this country and a spokesperson for the uprooted Kashmir pandits from the soil of Kashmir valley. “Too scared to say I’m Hindu in India“, remarks of Kher sparked a sensation in media in the last couple of days.
Read this also: Anupam Kher lashes out at Pakistan govt after visa refusal
HENB tried to contacted the organizers (+92-21-35071580-86) of 7th Karachi Literature Festival (5-7 Feb, 2016 in Beach Luxury Hotel at Karachi) and obtained that the key organizers felt very much embarrassed for the omission of Kher from the festival. “We are really unhappy to hear that our friend Anupam will not be able to meet us in KLF. The law and order situation in Karachi is not good not. Some outfits have been disturbing us for his entry in the KLF. We had reported this to Karachi Local Gov. The Federal Govt perhaps disallowed his Visa for the reason of mounting threats upon us who are with free thinking and speech. The situation is really bad when terrorists are always ready attack school, colleges, universities, hospitals and the literary festival also in a country”, says a key person of 7th Karachi Literature Festival, but she was not ready to divulge her identity anyway for her personal security reason.
However Kher tweeted, “Indian Govt welcomes Pakistan based writers, artists, actors etc. Pakistan Govt. bans entry of Indian actors. Why fear a free dialogue?”
Now, Shiv Sena and pro-Hindu organisations ask the Modi Govt, “Why Govt of India is always favoring Visa to Cultural Jihadi Gazal Singer Ghulam Ali or Kargil conspirator Pak foreign minister Kurshid Mahmud Kasuri in India?”
The supporters of Pakistani Cricket Team, fans of Ghulam Ali or the promoters of Kasuri keep quite mum on the #PakVisaBanOnKher.
__with input from PTI, CNN-IBN & Agencies.