Pakistan continues to suffer from terrorism and insensitive comments can deeply hurt feelings, says singer-actor Ali Zafar, who is under attack for performing at an event honoring lyricist Javed Akhtar who made headlines with his comments about the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.
Akhtar, who was in Pakistan last week for a festival in memory of celebrated Urdu poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz, said Pakistanis should not take offense when India talks about the 2008 terror attack. He also attended a rally where Mr. sang some songs written by him.
“I am a proud Pakistani and of course no Pakistani would appreciate a statement against his country or his people especially at an event that is meant to bring hearts closer together than beyond,” Zafar said on Thursday night. an Instagram post without mentioning Akhtar.
“We all know how much Pakistan has suffered and continues to suffer from terrorism and such insensitive and inappropriate comments can deeply hurt the feelings of so many people,” he added.
Mr. Zafar responded to the criticism of his performance, videos of which were widely circulated on social media platforms, saying that he did not know what Mr. Akhtar had said.
“I love you all and appreciate your praise and criticism equally. But I always ask one thing – verify the facts before coming to a conclusion or judgement. I was not present at the Faiz Mela nor did I know what was being said until the next day when I saw it on social media,” said the 42-year-old singer.
Mr Akhtar’s comments at the Faiz festival came in response to a question from a member of the public.
“We are people from Mumbai, we have seen the attack on our city. They (attackers) were not from Norway or Egypt. They still roam freely in your country. So if there is a complaint in the heart of a Hindu, don’t be offended,” said the 78-year-old.
He also told the gathering that Pakistani artists like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Mehdi Hasan had been warmly welcomed to India, but Pakistan has never staged a single show by Lata Mangeshkar.
Mr. Zafar was one of the prominent Pakistani artists who made the transition to the Indian film industry and acted in films like “Mere Brother Ki Dulhan”, “Chashme Baddoor” and “Dear Zindagi”. Pakistani actors were no longer cast in Indian productions after the 2016 Uri terror attack that killed 19 Indian army personnel. On 26 November 2008, 10 Pakistani terrorists from the Hafiz Saeed-led Lashkar-e-Taiba killed 166 people, including 18 security personnel, during a 60-hour siege in Mumbai.
India has accused Pakistan of keeping the main plotters and planners of the 26/11 attacks there protected and unpunished.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NewsMadura staff and is being published from a syndicated feed.)
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