Actor Anupam Kher says ‘no’ to Pakistan envoy’s visa offer

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Anupam-Kher1Actor Anupam Kher on 3 February said Pakistan had called him and offered a visa but he “has no dates” now. On 2 February, Kher said Pakistan had denied him a no objection certificate on visa on the exclusive orders of the Interior Ministry.

Pakistan had blocked his travel to the country for the Karachi Literature Festival, beginning Friday, alleged the veteran actor, 60, in a series of tweets and press statements.

The latest word to the controversy came in the form of a tweet this morning, though it may not be the last word. Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit refusing Kher’s allegations tweeted that the Interior Ministry did not refuse Kher a no-objection certificate. “Sorry Sir, I don’t know who told you about this so-called NoC, we are yet to receive your visa application and passport,” said Basit, in tweet.

Countering him, Kher said 17 other invitees to the Karachi Literature Festival, including senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid and actor Nandita Das, were given visa. “I was denied a visa because I am a Kashmiri Pandit, who may expose Pak terror network,” he alleged.

The actor, who has enjoyed commercial as well as critical acclaim, was recently presented Padma Bhushan, one of the country’s top civilian awards.

Last week, Kher exchanged bitter words on Twitter with Congress leader Shashi Tharoor after posting that he was afraid of openly saying he is a Hindu. The actor is a vocal supporter of the ruling BJP and took out a protest march against the activists who have alleged a rise in intolerance in the country since Modi took over reins.

In May last year, Pakistan refused to give the actor a visa to Pakistan on security grounds, when he was due to visit Lahore for an event organised by an NGO.