Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi has reportedly denied a visa to actor Anupam Kher to attend Karachi Literature Festival, which is to be held on February 5.
Kher claimed that he has been singled out of the 18 delegates who applied for the visa. “I am very sad and disappointed that out of 18 participants, 17 were given visa and I was denied,” Kher told ANI. He later tweeted asking if his visa was cancelled because he has spoken about the tolerance debate in India or because he’s a Kashmiri Pandit.
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?— Anupam Kher (@AnupamPkher) February 2, 2016
Didn't Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs red flag my name to Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi? Why hide facts deliberately?— Anupam Kher (@AnupamPkher) February 2, 2016
Pak High Commission shud know their own rules. #KarachiLitFest had given my name to authorities 1 month back & have my name in every poster.— Anupam Kher (@AnupamPkher) February 2, 2016
However Pakistan High Commission has said Kher had not even applied for a visa.
“Anupam Kher has never submitted a visa application,” Pakistan high commission spokesperson Manzoor Ali Memon told Hindustan Times.
Pakistan HC says "they have received no Visa application from Anupam Kher"— ANI (@ANI_news) February 2, 2016
He added: “It may be clarified that the Pakistan high commission never received Mr Kher’s visa application. So the question of issuing or denying him visa does not arise.”
According to reports, Pakistani officials rejected the visa citing security reasons.
Watch | Anupam Kher says Pak High Commission lying about visa denial
Kher, who has just been honoured with Padma Bhushan by the Indian government, was to participate in at least two sessions and his name figured prominently in the festival schedule.
Confirming that he has not been issued a visa, Kher said 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.
Kher said the visa denial has left the festival organisers embarrassed and they have apologised to him.
Earlier this week Congress leader Shashi Tharoor and Anupam Kher were also seen sparring Twitter over the veteran actor’s comment that he is scared to openly say he is a Hindu.