M A I N   N E W S

I’ll go on Pervez’s invite : Javed Akhtar

New Delhi, June 24
Noted poet and film writer Javed Akhtar, at the receiving end of a visa controversy wherein the Pakistani government initially denied him permission to visit Karachi for ‘Mughal-e-Azam’ premiere but later cleared it, today said he would now go to Pakistan only if he received an official invitation from the neighbouring country.

“Only if I receive an official invitation from the Pakistani Prime Minister or President Musharraf will I consider going to the neighbouring country,’’ Javed Akhtar told UNI.

Describing the Pakistani government’s belated clearance to his visit as a case of “ab pachtaye hot kya jab chidiya chugh gayi khet” (what is the use of regretting now that the birds have eaten the harvest), the noted poet said,’’the clearance of the visa has no meaning now that Akbar Asif, who had organised the premiere of ‘‘Mughal-e-Azam’’ at Karachi today, himself having announced the cancellation of the event at a Press meet in Karachi yesterday afternoon. Moreover all the 20 members of the delegation, which included stars like Shabana Azmi, Sridevi, Zeenat Aman, Saif Ali Khan and Urmila Matondkar have also expressed their unwillingness to go to Pakistan.’’

Regretting the unseemly controversy over his visa, Javed said,’’ our purpose of going there was not commercial at all.

In fact, we were going there to participate in a noble gesture on the part of Akbar Asif who wanted us to attend the premiere today and participate in a telethon on TV tomorrow to generate funds for the earthquake victims of Pakistan.’’

“Instead of appreciating the fact that top Bollywood stars like Saif and Urmila, who are extremely busy in their film assignments, readily agreed to participate in the charity event just on the call of Akbar Asif and that too for free, the Pakistani authorities went ahead and withheld permission to a person who is heading the delegation,’’ Mr Akhtar said. — UNI



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