Actor Anupam Kher takes to Twitter to express his angst, questions whether the alleged refusal was due to him being a Kashmiri pandit. Turns out he did not apply for the visa in the first place and had left it to the festival organisers
New Delhi: Veteran actor Anupam Kher yesterday claimed he was denied a Pakistani visa for the second time, and described it as 'sad'. Kher was to attend the Karachi Literature Festival, which begins on Friday. While 17 out of the 18 Indians received their visas, the 60-year-old actor said he was ‘singled out’. He, however, clarified that it was the festival organisers who were supposed to secure his visa.
Anupam Kher addresses media persons at a press conference in Mumbai yesterday. Pic/PTI
"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 second time in a year, while around 17 people will participate in the Karachi Literature Festival as guests," Kher tweeted.
Addressing the media persons in Mumbai, Kher said, "I would request the Government of India to take up this matter (with Pakistan)."
The actor was denied a Pakistani visa in May 2015 as well, when he wanted to visit Pakistan to attend a literary festival in Lahore.
Speaking to media, Karachi Literature Festival (KLF) organisers said they were unaware of the reasons for rejection of visa to the actor. KLF spokesperson Ameena Syed said they had been advised by the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi to tell Kher not to submit a visa application as he (Kher) could not be issued one. "That is all we have been told. They told us that the remaining 17 guests invited from India should be asked to submit applications as they would be issued visas," she said.
The Pakistani High Commission in Delhi, however, yesterday refuted allegations levelled by Kher and said the actor never applied for any visa.
Manzoor Ali Memon, a diplomat from the Pakistan High Commission, said, "He (Anupam Kher) has not submitted (any) visa application. Please check out from him if he has any receipt."
@AnupamPkher: 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
@AzmiShabana: Some yrs ago @Javedakhtarjadu chair of delegation 2 Pakistan was denied a visa.organiser cancelled d entire trip.I stand with @RoflGandhi_ Oh ho ! I meant i stand with @AnupamPkher if he was denied visa.
@DrunkVinodMehta: Neither @AnupamPkher applied for Visa, nor Pak denied Visa, this is deliberately created contro to divert media from #10YrsGloriousMNREGA
@ashokepandit: Tried my best to convince @SudheenKulkarni to condemn Pakistan denying Visa to @AnupamPkher but he didn't.
@abdullah_omar: Now all Kher Sahib has to do is tweet a copy of the visa application receipt and it's game, set and match to him.