Renowned poet Gulzar on Wednesday abruptly ended his visit to Pakistan where he was expected to attend the Karachi Literature Festival.
While film-maker Vishal Bharadwaj, who was accompanying him, said in Lahore that there was nothing political about his decision to return, Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik claimed that Gulzar had been warned of a threat to his life.
According to Bharadwaj, Gulzar cut short his visit as he was “emotionally overwhelmed and stressed” after visiting his birthplace at Kalra, near Deena in Pakistan’s Punjab.
“Gulzar saheb visited the grave of his mentor and eminent poet Ahmed Nadeem Qasimi.
“After that, he visited his birthplace at Deena after 70 years.
“He was emotionally overwhelmed and stressed and felt uncomfortable after returning to his hotel in Lahore,” he said in a statement.Pakistani media had claimed that Gulzar decided to end the trip after being advised by the
Indian High Commission that the security situation might deteriorate in the aftermath of Afzal Guru’s hanging. Indian officials dismissed such reports, saying they were not in touch with the poet or his delegation.
However, Malik implied that security was the main reason for Gulzar to end the trip.
“I attended the matter of Mr Gulzar personally. His friend from the US had called him and misinformed him that he might be attacked in Kar(achi,” he tweeted, without revealing the identity of the friend.
He added that security officials had spoken to Gulzar and assured him “full security in Karachi but he left despite assurances”.
Gulzar also cancelled a qawwali recording for an Indian film. Bharadwaj assured that Gulzar would certainly visit Pakistan again.