NEW DELHI: Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit has called up Anupam Kher and offered him a visa to travel to that country if he has applied for the same but the Bollywood actor declined the offer, saying he has already taken up other assignments on the scheduled dates.
Pakistan High Commission officials said Basit had called up Kher yesterday after the actor said he was denied visa to attend the Karachi Literary Festival while 17 others were issued the travel document. Basit today tweeted, "@AnupamPkher you are always welcome Sir. You are a great artiste; we respect and admire you."
Replying to Basit, Kher said, "Thank you Mr. @abasitpak1 for your call & offering me visa to visit Karachi. I appreciate it. Unfortunately i've given away those dates now."
In another tweet last night, the Pakistani envoy had said, "@AnupamPkher sorry Sir I don't know who told you about this so-called NoC, we are still to receive your visa application and passport." Kher has been denied visa by the Pakistan government to attend the Karachi Literary Festival, prompting him to suggest that the decision may have been influenced by his stand on the issue of Kashmiri Pandits and his support for Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"Dear @abasitpak1, Reality remains that Pak Interior Ministry refused to grant NOC for my visa. 17 others invited also didn't apply for visa," Kher said in a tweet last night. Kher, who said he has been denied a Pakistani visa for the third time, was one of the 18 Indians invited to the four-day KLF starting Friday by the organisers and all of them including senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid and actor Nandita Das but excluding the actor were granted the visa.
"I am not angry, I am hurt, upset and somewhere wanting to know the reason. Out of 18 why only I was singled out. "It could be either because I am a Kashmiri Pandit, I am not playing a card of Kashmiri Pandit and trying to divide people, or because I've spoken about the issue of intolerance, taken a stand and have applauded my PM. Otherwise, there is no logical reason why the visa was denied to me. This has happened for the third time," Kher had told a press conference in Mumbai yesterday.
The Pakistan High Commission in Delhi had said Kher had never submitted visa application and so the question of issuing or denying him visa does not arise.
Ameena Syed, the spokesperson for the KLF, had told PTI in Karachi that they had been advised by the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi to tell Kher not to submit a visa application as he would not be issued one.