Anupam Kher
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I am not angry, I am hurt: Anupam Kher on Pak visa denial

Anupam Kher

By HT

Actor Anupam Kher said on Tuesday he was hurt by Pakistan’s decision to deny him a visa for his visit to Karachi for a literature festival.

“I am not angry at anyone, I am hurt and saddened,” Kher told a news conference.

A Pakistani diplomat earlier said Kher had “not submitted” any visa application. “I did not personally ask for a visa, the organisers of the Karachi Literature Festival did,” Kher clarified.

“For last 15 days, all my visa documents are ready,” he said. “The organiser of the Karachi lit fest said that (Pakistan) government officials told her ‘don’t invite Anupam Kher’. I don’t know why,” the actor added.

“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 on second time in a year, while around 17 people will participate in the Karachi Literature Festival as guests,” Anupam had tweeted earlier.

It was in May last year that the actor was first 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.

This time, he was invited as a guest at the three-day Karachi Literature Festival, which begins on Friday. Among the Indians who will be present at the literature festival are Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, Rahul Singh, Om Arora, Urvashi Butalia and Ashok Chopra.

Upset about the visa denial, Kher tweeted: “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,” he tweeted.

The actor, who was chosen to be conferred the Padma Bhushan -- India’s third highest civilian award -- said he feels “bad for all those people who were looking forward to meet me in Pakistan and vice versa”.

“I was probably the only actor from Bollywood who wrote an open letter condemning attack on Peshawar school,” the actor said at the news conference.