Actor Anupam Kher on Tuesday said that he was 'hurt' and 'upset' on account of the denial of a visa to him by the Pakistan High Commission. The statement, during a media conference on Tuesday evening, came amid drama through the day, even as the High Commission claimed that he had not applied for a visa in the first place.
Kher, however, said that the Karachi Literature Fest's organisers sent documents of 18 persons to the High Commission, and that everyone got a visa but him.
On being asked about the possible reasons for being denied a visa, the actor said, "The reason could be either that I am a Kashmiri Pandit, or because I have spoken out on the intolerance debate." He also said that those who spoke about intolerance in India should speak up now.
Kher, however, said that he was open to artists from Pakistan coming to work in India. "I believe that art has no boundaries and have worked with several people from Pakistan."
To a question on what he would have done if another person from the group had been denied a visa by Pakistan, Kher said, "I would not have gone."
However, he said that he would visit Pakistan in future if he were to be invited.
Responding to a war of words between him and Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, Kher said, "Tharoor sent me a message saying that we should now call it a truce."
Earlier in the day, 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, is a "laughable explanation".
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