Why do we do this?

Posted on June 23, 2006
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Foreign Relations, TV, Movies & Theatre
7 Comments
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Adil Najam

Following up on the ATP blogpost from June 19, 2006 (Mughal-e-Azam: A party fit for an emperor), Reuters and various Indian news outlets are now reporting that veteran Bollywood lyricist Javed Akhtar, who is married to actress Shabana Azmi has been refused a visa for Pakistan and that other Indian filmstars who were coming to Karachi for the opening of Mughal-e-Azam have decided to cancel the trip in protest.

Speaking to the Press Trust of India, Javed Akhtar said:

I don’t understand what kind of a threat I can pose to that country. In fact, we were going for a very noble cause, where a day after the premiere, we were scheduled to participate in a telecom to raise funds for earthquake victims. .. After hearing that I have been denied a visa, the organiser Akbar Asif… called a press conference in Karachi and announced that he was postponing the event until I am granted a visa. I suppose it is now as good as cancelledI am, in fact, quite amused at it. I feel they have given me too much importance. The only thing that comes to mind is that I have been too frank for their comfort on sensitive issues and in a society where there is no tradition of having opposition, this is bound to happen.

Of course, one has yet to hear the version from the Pakistan side and there may well be a valid explanation for this. But irrespective of what that might be, did this really need to happen? Is the needless controversy this is bound to generate really worth it? is anyone at all thinking about the public diplomacy aspects of this?

7 responses to “Why do we do this?”

  1. Daktar daktar says:

    This is what the Daily Times reported today:

    Sunday, June 25, 2006
    Indian stars drop show

    NEW DELHI: Bollywood songwriter Javed Akhtar said on Saturday that top Indian film stars scheduled to feature in a Pakistani television show had pulled the plug on the project to protest his being denied visa.

    More than 20 Indian film stars had been scheduled to participate in a show to raise funds for the victims of last year’s earthquake. The Indian team had “indefinitely postponedâ€

  2. Daktar daktar says:

    This just keeps getting better. Worse actually:
    http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?NewsID=1037418

  3. Adil Najam says:

    Thank you HH. I am glad to hear this. As I had alluded, my hope was that something like this would transpire.

    But it is still not over. Seems like now the Embassy WILL grant a visa, but on Monday. Meanwhile, the event is already cancelled and will have to be rescheduled. I am guessing we will hear more of this later today and both countries wake to the news. Meanwhile, the Earthquake fundraiser is off, for now, and may or may not be rescheduled.

    Once again, the pointlessness of this entire episode is what is frustrating. Whoever is at fault, the bottom line is that something that was supposed to foster goodwill has ended up doing the opposite.

  4. HH says:

    It seems like the trip is back on.

    Apparently Javed Akhtar’s visa was granted late last night. Though the article doesn’t mention why his visa application was initially denied…

    http://www.tribuneindia.com/2006/20060624/main3.ht m

  5. Altamash Mir says:

    A very sad day indeed…I also wonder why the GOP did what they did…but again they (Indian Governement) has also refused visas for Pakistani artists and diplomats. I remember, Shaikh Rashid (I think) was refused a visa last year after the Earthquake.

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