Cultural Exchanges With Pakistan Must Stop, Says Shabana Azmi after #Pulwama Attack

Shabana Azmi and Javed Akhtar cancelled their trip to Karachi after the attack in Pulwama
Cultural Exchanges With Pakistan Must Stop, Says Shabana Azmi after #Pulwama Attack
Shabana Azmi and Javed Akhtar

Shabana Azmi always believed the borders between the two warring nations India and Pakistan must not be sealed against cultural exchanges. But now after the dastardly and gruesome Pulawama attack, Shabana feels all communication and exchange with Pakistan must stop. Says the activist actress, “We will need to call halt to cultural exchange as of now. There is no way we can carry on when our martyrs are laying down their lives are for us. I stand in solidarity with the grieving families.”

Recuperating in hospital from an attack of swine flu she says,  “I am filled with pain and grief by the dastardly #Pulwama attack. For the first time in all these years, I feel weakened in my belief that people to people contact can force the Establishment to do the right thing. Javed and I were invited by Karachi Arts Council for a 2-day event celebrating my father Kaifi Azmi's birth centenary. I appreciate that our hosts have mutually agreed to cancel the event at the nth hour in wake of the Pulwama attack. Rekhta has also cancelled their three-day celebration in Dubai which included a show of our play Kaifi Aur Main by IPTA. All Indians stand united as one .”

However, she counsels against generating animosity between civilians on both sides. “Let’s not lose sight of the fact that we must not confuse the Pakistan establishment with the people of Pakistan,  and vice-versa. On both sides of the border, there are sisters and brothers who stand divided by circumstances they have had nothing to do with .”
Filmmaker  Aditya Dhar whose Uri a film on the gruesome attack on Indian soldiers by Pakistan has created box-office havoc has taken the latest attack very personally.  “This  attack is  truly heart-breaking. I don’t know why but now after  having made Uri I am taking this  attack very personally. I think  our Government needs  to take the strongest action  to ensure such  carnage doesn’t happen again.”

Aditya who at one point in time was contemplating directing a  film with  Pakistan’s Fawad Khan, also feels like Shabana that Pakistan’s artists must be banned in India for now. “Just as Pakistan is being isolated in every way possible the country should be isolated in matters of cultural exchange also. After this latest attack we should sever all  ties and  stop  all communication with Pakistan.”