On making divisive remarks in Pakistan, Javed Akhtar: When asked, “Yahan nahi darte wahan kya darna,”

According to Javed Akhtar, he has never been hesitant to express his opinions in his own country, thus he had no cause to be worried when doing so in a nation he was temporarily visiting.

Javed Akhtar recently went to a festival in Lahore to honour the author Faiz Ahmed Faiz, where he learned that Indians believe all Pakistanis to be terrorists. In a sharp response, Javed stated that Pakistan is still home to the terrorists who carried out the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai. Since then, he has been at the centre of the debate; while Indian celebrities and politicians are thanking him for the statement, Pakistani celebrities have criticised him.

He claimed to have received messages notifying him that people in Pakistan were asking him how he obtained a visa, and he added that he might just remember the location at this point (suggesting that he may not ever get to go back again). Javed responded, “Is tarah ki baatein, jo controversial hain…jis mulk pe paida hue, jeete hain aur marenge waha karte rehte hain to dusre mulk me do din jana waha kya dar tha? ” when asked if he felt afraid to speak his mind while sitting in Lahore at an event being held in a hall full of Pakistanis. ‘Jab yaha nahi darte to waha kya darenge’ (Why would I make such divisive remarks in the nation where I was born and will die?)

Javed was addressing a gathering at the literary festival in Pakistan when he remarked that as witnesses of the horrors of the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai, it is unreasonable to ask Indians to overlook that the perpetrators of those atrocities are living freely in Pakistan.


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