After a day marked by controversy over the alleged denial of a visa to actor Anupam Kher, authorities in Pakistan asked the actor to submit his papers and passport for a visa on Wednesday.
Pakistan's high commissioner Abdul Basit on Wednesday called up the actor to offer him a visa for visiting Karachi but Anupam turned it down saying he had already taken up other assignments on the scheduled dates. Anupam Kher was slated to visit Pakistan to attend the Karachi literature festival, which has been organised from 5 to 7 February. The actor tweeted:
#BREAKING | Pak High Commissioner Abdul Basit spoke to Anupam Kher last evening; Asked him to submit papers and passport for visa
— CNN-IBN News (@ibnlive) February 3, 2016
Thank you Mr. @abasitpak1 for your call & offering me visa to visit Karachi. I appreciate it. Unfortunately i've given away those dates now.
— Anupam Kher (@AnupamPkher) February 3, 2016
Anupam Kher had on Tuesday claimed that he was singled out for a denial of a visa, and questioned whether it was because of his identity as a Kashmiri Pandit, or because of his views on intolerance in India. The Pakistan High Commission, however, had claimed that he had never applied for a visa in the first place.
In a media conference on Tuesday, Kher had said that he was 'hurt' and 'upset' on account of the denial of a visa to him by the Pakistan High Commission. In response to Pakistan's claim, he had said that he had not personally applied for a visa, but the organisers of the festival had asked for a visa for him.
However, Kher said that he would visit Pakistan in future if he were to be invited.
Earlier on Tuesday, Kher had said, "Didn't Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs red flag my name to Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi? Why hide facts deliberately? Pakistan High Commission should know their own rules. #KarachiLitFest had given my name to authorities 1 month back and have my name in every poster."
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." This, Anupam, said on a TV channel, was a "laughable explanation."
It may be clarified that PHC never received Mr Kher's visa application. So the question of issuing or denying him visa does not arise.
— PakNewDelhi (@Paknewdelhi) February 2, 2016
Ameena Syed, the spokesperson for the KLF, said that the festival organisers 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.
Reacting to the controversy, Congress leader Manish Tewari took a jibe at the union government, saying that Kher's friend "PM Modi can surely talk to his drop-by friend Nawaz and facilititate it"
If the #posterboyof "tolerant" India is so keen to go to Pak his friend PM Modi can surely talk to his drop by friend Nawaz & facilitate it?
— Manish Tewari (@ManishTewari) February 3, 2016
In May last year, the actor was denied a visa to Pakistan. He was due to visit Lahore for an event hosted by an NGO, but according to reports, back then it was denied on security grounds.
With inputs from IANS