The noted lyricist, writer also reminds the neighboring country that whilst India hosted their artists like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Mehdi Hassan, Pakistan never hosted the late Lata Mangeshkar.

By Mayur Lookhar

He tends to divide opinions domestically, but his loyalty to his nation is never in doubt. Veteran lyricist, poet, former screenwriter Javed Akhtar isn’t afraid to speak his mind. Akhtar is winning praise for speaking the truth during his ongoing visit to neighbouring country Pakistan. Akhtar was invited to participate in a literary fest organised in the memory the late poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz.

There was some criticism back home as to why Akhtar visited the enemy country when relations between India and Pakistan are anything but stable. All those aggrieved nationalists are now perhaps hailing Akhtar for his strong words in Pakistan.

“We hosted functions (shows) of Nusrat [Fateh Ali Khan], Mehdi Hassan, your country never hosted Lata Mangeshkar. Truth is that we shouldn’t blame each other,” said Akhtar.

The Indian lyricist then went on to make a pertinent point on terrorism from Pakistan.

“Today, we have a heated environment. Tensions need to be reduced. I’m from Mumbai. We saw terrorists strike in our city. Those people [attackers] didn’t come from Norway or Egypt. They are roaming free in your country (Pakistan). Indians have a genuine grievance. You (Pakistanis) shouldn’t be offended by it.”

Pakistan has been the epicentre of global terrorism. The Islamic state has carried out terror activities in Kashmir and other parts of India for over three decades. Mumbai city was often the target of Pakistani ISI, Army backed terror groups. The worst of the lot was the attacks of 26/11 in 2008 where Pakistani terrorists killed over 160 civilians in Mumbai.

The frail India-Pakistan political relationship has seen India take a hard stance over the years. Indian entertainment industry has stopped recruiting Pakistani artistes.

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