Anupam Kher Denied Pak Visa For Literary Festival
Feb 02, 2016 Vinod Gupta
Bollywood actor and BJP sympathiser Anupam Kher has been denied a visa by Pakistan to attend a literary festival in Karachi beginning Friday.
The Pakistani High Commission in Delhi, however, claimed on Tuesday he had never applied for any visa application.
Kher was one of the 18 Indians invited to the four-day prestigious event by the organisers but he is the only one who has been denied the visa.
The other 17 Indian participants who have been given the travel document included senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid and actor Nandita Das.
The noted actor, who has just been honoured with Padma Bhushan by the government, today said he was very "sad and disappointed" over the matter and wondered whether he was denied visa for raising the issue of Kashmiri Pandits, supporting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and for being a patriot.
"I am very sad and disappointed that so many people were given visa but I was the only one who has been denied it. 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 told PTI.
When contacted, Pakistan High Commission's head of media Manzoor Memon said Kher had never submitted visa application to Pakistan High Commission. "So the question of issuing or denying him visa does not arise."
But the organizers of the annual Karachi Literature Festival (KLF) said they are unaware of the reasons for rejection of visa to the actor.
Ameena Syed, the spokesperson for the KLF, told PTI that they 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 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.
Kher was also denied a visa last year in May to visit Lahore on an invitation of a Pakistani NGO and security reasons were cited for the decision.
Rejecting Pakistan High Commission's contention that he had not applied for visa, Kher called it a "laughable explanation". He said organisers had completed the formalities for the visa.
"I do not know why they denied me the visa. Is it because of my patriotism, because I talk about my country. Is it because I do not go to that country and critcise my country there. I do not speak the language of terrorists. There can be millions of reasons," said Kher.
The actor said he would request the government to take up the issue with Pakistan, adding he had planned to speak about India, its tolerance among other issues.
Anupam Kher, Pak visa for literary festival
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