NewDelhi/Nagpur: Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi has reportedly denied a visa to actor Anupam Kher to attend Karachi Literary 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 news agency ANI.
However TV reports said that the Pakistan High Commission has claimed that Kher had not even applied for a Pakistani visa.
“He has not submitted a visa application. Please check from him if he has any receipt,” Pakistan High Commission spokesperson Manzoor Ali Memon told reporters.
According to reports, Pakistani officials rejected the visa citing security reasons.
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.
As to why his visa has not been issued, Kher said, “I wish I knew. I am wondering if it is because I am a Kashmiri Pandit or because of my views on the tolerance debate in India.”
Kher said the visa denial has left the festival organisers embarrassed and they have apologised to him.