Mumbai, day after Anupam Kher claimed he was denied a visa to visit Pakistan for the Karachi Literature Festival, he said on Wednesday that he has now been offered one. However, he said he has “given away those dates” and won’t be travelling.
The actor thanked Pakistani High Commissioner Abdul Basit on Twitter for offering him the visa.
“Thank you Mr. @abasitpak1 (Abdul Basit) for your call and offering me (a) visa to visit Karachi. I appreciate it. Unfortunately, I’ve given away those dates now,” Anupam tweeted on Wednesday morning.
The actor was to attend the three-day Karachi Literature Festival which begins on Friday. While 17 of the 18 Indians who were scheduled to go for the event received their visas, the 60-year-old said he was “singled out”.
However, Manzoor Ali Memon, a diplomat from the Pakistan High Commission, told IANS that the actor had not submitted any visa application for his visit.
“No visa application was given. An invitation is not a guarantee, it just facilitates the purpose. A visa application is filed first and then the visa is considered on the basis of an application. If there is no visa application…then no rejection can take place.”
Memon said when the high commission asked Anupam about the application, the actor “failed to produce the evidence of application that has been submitted”.
“We also told him that a visa will be given and asked him to bring the supporting documents with him,” Memon added.
On Tuesday, Anupam had held met the media and questioned if it were his outspoken views on various social and political issues that led to the visa denial.
Meanwhile, critically acclaimed actress Shabana Azmi expressed support for Anupam and said a similar situation was once faced by her husband, celebrated lyricist Javed Akhtar.
Shabana tweeted: “Some years ago Javed Akhtar, chair of delegation to Pakistan, was denied a visa. Organiser cancelled the entire trip. I stand with @RoflGandhi… Oh no! I meant I stand with Anupam Kher if he was denied visa.”