Perpetrators of 26/11 Mumbai attacks roam freely in Pak, says Javed Akhtar at Lahore event
Lahore, Feb 21 (PTI) The perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks are still roaming freely in Pakistan and Pakistanis should not get angry when India talks about the 2008 carnage, lyricist and poet Javed Akhtar has said.
The writer made these comments in response to a viral video of the seventh Faiz festival organized here in honor of renowned Urdu poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz, where a member of the audience asked Akhtar to carry a message of peace with him to Indians. Pakistan is “a positive, friendly and loving country”.
“We shouldn’t blame each other. It won’t solve anything. The atmosphere is tense and needs to be defused,” the 78-year-old songstress said.
“We are from Mumbai and we saw the attack on our city. They (attackers) did not come from Norway or Egypt. They are still roaming freely in your country. So if there is a grievance in the heart of a Hindustani, you should not be offended,” hosted by Adil Hashmi, grandson of poet Faiz. Akhtar said at the event.
Akhtar also told the gathering that while Pakistani artistes like Nasrat Fateh Ali Khan and Mehdi Hasan were warmly welcomed in India, Pakistan did not host a single performance by Lata Mangeshkar.
“We hosted big functions for Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Mehdi Hasan. You (Pakistan) don’t organize a function for Lata Mangeshkar,” the poet said, drawing loud cheers and applause from the audience.
On November 26, 2008, 10 Pakistani terrorists from Lashkar-e-Taiba, led by Hafiz Saeed, came across the sea and opened fire, killing 166 people, including 18 security personnel, and injuring many others.
The attacks drew worldwide condemnation. Nine Pakistani terrorists were killed by Indian security forces. Ajmal Kasab was the only terrorist captured alive. He was hanged four years later on November 21, 2012.
India has been accused of allowing key conspirators and planners of the 26/11 attacks to remain safe and unpunished in Pakistan.
Meanwhile, Bollywood actor Kangana Ranaut praised Akhtar for his candid comments on the 26/11 terror attacks, tweeting: ‘Khar mein khus ke mara’ (He attacked them on their own land).
At the Lahore event, Akhtar spoke extensively about language, poetry, performing arts, love and friendship and his marriage to actress Shabana Azmi.
He left Pakistan on Monday at the end of a three-day festival at the Alhamra Arts Council in Lahore that attracted a large number of visitors from all quarters.
When asked about his marriage and love for Azmi, he said: “I share a very strong friendship with Shabana and even marriage cannot break it.”
He said that the original name of Urdu was Hindvi and when everything was divided (during partition), “Urdu being a language cannot be divided, so it was pushed to Pakistan)”.
On art and the lack of depth of the arts, the lyricist says that speed of communication has come at the cost of depth.