Dear Fawad Afzal Khan,
I will keep it short and simple. I have no problems with you coming to India, acting in Bollywood, earning more name, more fame and more money in our country. Be rest assured that I don’t support bans and those who do…well that’s their opinion. But I certainly have a problem with your silence…your radio silence. Why are you silent today when India is both hurt and angry after the dastardly terror attacks in Uri? Have you forgotten how much love and respect we have showered on you here. In case you have forgotten, let me remind you what you once told me at the trailer launch of Kapoor and Sons.
“Whenever I have come here, I have experienced tremendous love and hospitality in India and people here have given me a lovely and warm welcome. It feels like family here in India and wherever I have gone in this country, it has always been an amazing experience.”
Don’t you think a tweet from you condemning this act of terror would have been a welcome move. You may say it’s your right to remain silent. I again don’t have a problem with that. But it certainly irks me to see that your silence is selectively applied. You were quick to denounce the Paris terror attacks in the following words.
“Shocked and saddened; praying for Paris, praying for humanity #Parisattacks.”
Aren’t you shocked and saddened now after Uri attacks, Mr Khan?
Your other Pakistani counterparts too have followed the same modus operandi. Ali Zafar condemned the Paris attacks by writing, “#PrayForParis #PrayForPeace. No words.” And Mahira Khan expressed her sorrow by saying, “Heartbreaking. What a world we live in, no words. #ParisAttacks.” Mahira had even denounced the Orlando shooting episode by tweeted a picture with a message that read, “Sad!!Disgusting! Prayers for the families that have lost their loved ones. #OrlandoNightclubShooting.”
Why are you and your colleagues who rake in much moolah here desisting from taking a stand now? Chup kyu ho gaye? What scares you? Is it because you are as you once told me a ‘political illiterate’ who doesn’t keep up with current affairs and doesn’t feel right to get involved in these matters? Or is it because you fear any message condemning or even praying for the victims of Uri would make you unpopular and perhaps unpatriotic back home in Pakistan? Either of the above reasons can’t be taken as excuses anymore.
I believe art and culture shouldn’t be restricted by boundaries and India, as a democracy, has always welcomed talent from all across the globe. Many outsiders earn their name, fame and money here and we have only celebrated their success. We have accorded the same privileges to you and your countrymen in Bollywood which makes it all the more obligatory for you to take a stand now and denounce terrorism like you did after the Paris attacks.
Many believe art and culture promote harmony and peace. If that is so, it is time for you to stand up and do that. Remember when you are working in a country outside of Pakistan as an actor, you are automatically representing your country of birth in the foreign land. Priyanka Chopra may be a Hollywood star today but she is first an Indian and an ambassador of Bollywood in the West. Similarly you are a cultural and film ambassador of Pakistan working in India and it’s your duty to see to it that through your words and deeds peace prevails every time terrorism is directed at India from your country. Now whether you make that clear through a tweet, a video message or a film is something for you to decide. But decide and act fast because silence is not golden anymore.