NEW DELHI: Pakistan’s high commissioner to India, Abdul Basit, called up Anupam Kher on Tuesday and offered him a visa to travel to Karachi, after the Bollywood actor said he was denied one.
Kher, though, declined the offer, saying he’s already taken up other assignments on the dates that he had planned to visit Pakistan to attend the Karachi Literary Festival for which he’d been invited.
Kher had said on Tuesday he was the only one of 18 people denied permission to attend the Karachi event. The actor suggested that the decision may have been influenced by his stand on the issue of Kashmiri Pandits and his support for Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“@AnupamPkher you are always welcome Sir. You are a great artiste; we respect and admire you”, Basit tweeted today.
Replying to him, Kher tweeted, “Thank you Mr. @abasitpak1 for your call & offering me visa to visit Karachi. I appreciate it. Unfortunately I’ve given away those dates now.”
The Pakistan high commission in Delhi had said Kher had never submitted a visa application and so the question of issuing or denying him a visa did not arise.
In a tweet on Tuesday night, the Pakistani envoy had said, “@AnupamPkher sorry Sir I don’t know who told you about this so-called NoC, we are still to receive your visa application and passport.”
Ameena Syed, the spokesperson for KLF, said in Karachi that the organizers had been advised by the Pakistan high commission in New Delhi to tell Kher not to submit a visa application as he would not be issued a visa.
“Dear @abasitpak1, Reality remains that Pak Interior Ministry refused to grant NOC for my visa. 17 others invited also didn’t apply for visa,” Kher said in a tweet on Tuesday night.
Kher, who said he has been denied a Pakistani visa for the third time, was one of 18 Indians invited to the four-day KLF starting Friday. Among the 17 granted a visa are senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid and actor Nandita Das.
“I am not angry, I am hurt, upset and somewhere wanting to know the reason. Out of 18 why only I was singled out,” Kher said a press conference in Mumbai on Tuesday.
“It could be either because I am a Kashmiri Pandit, I am not playing a card of Kashmiri Pandit and trying to divide people, or because I’ve spoken about the issue of intolerance, taken a stand and have applauded my PM. Otherwise, there is no logical reason why the visa was denied to me. This has happened for the third time,” the actor added.
Source : Times of India