Actor Anupam Kher who was recently awarded Padma Bhushan, revealed through a series of tweets that Pakistani authorities had denied him a visa to attend a literature festival.
He suggested that this decision by Pakistan may have been prompted by his stand on the issue of Kashmiri Pandits and his support for Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
However, the Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi said it didn’t get any application from the Bollywood artist and so the question of either granting or denying him a visa didn’t arise.
Its officials later also added that if Kher were to apply for a visa he would get necessary papers within hours.
“Have been informed that Pakistan MoFA (foreign ministry) 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,”
the actor said in another tweet.
In May last year, Kher was denied a visa to Pakistan, reportedly on security grounds, when he was due to visit Lahore for an event organised by an NGO.
Another tweet by Kher read “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 Govt welcomes Pakistan based writers, artists, actors etc. Pakistan Govt. bans entry of Indian actors. Why fear a free dialogue?”
Other 17 Indian participants to the event in Karachi who have been given the travel document include senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid and actor Nandita Das.
His comments sparked a storm on social media.
Angry over the Pakistani high commission’s statement that he didn’t apply for the travel document, Kher tweeted, “Didn’t Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs red flag my name to Pakistan
High Commission in New Delhi? Why hide facts deliberately? Pak High Commission shud know their own rules. #KarachiLitFest had given my name to authorities 1 month back & have my name in every poster.”