Javed Akhtar, Shabana Azmi cancel visit to Pakistan

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Bollywood lyricist-screenwriter Javed Akhtar said on Friday that he will not attend the Kaifi Azmi Literary Conference in Karachi after the Pulwama attack in Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK).

Akhtar wrote on Twitter, “Kranchi art council had invited. Shabana and me for a two day lit conference about Kaifi Azmi and his poetry. We have cancelled that. In 1965 during the indo Pak war Kaifi saheb had written a poem. Aur Phir Krishan Ne Arjun Se Kaha.”

Akhtar also condemned the attack and wrote, “I have a special relation with CRPF. I have written their anthem before putting the pen to paper I met a number of CRPF officers n whatever I learned my respect admiration and love for these braves increased by many a fold Today I share the grief of the dear ones of the martyrs.”

After Akhtar, Shabana also took to twitter to share her thoughts on the matter.

“I am filled with pain and grief and all else ..by the dastardly Pulwama attack . For the first time in all these years, I feel weakened in my belief that people to people contact can force the Establishment to do the right thing. We will need to call halt to cultural exchange.”

She continued: “There is no way we can carry on with cultural exchanges between India and Pakistan even as our martyrs are laying down their lives for us. I stand in solidarity with the grieving families.”

“But lets not lose sight of the fact that there is a difference between the Pakistani Establishment and the people of Pakistan and vice versa. On both sides of the border sisters and brothers are divided by circumstances with which they had nothing to do with,” Azmi added.

Published in Today’s Muslim, February 16th  2019.