‘They all clapped and agreed with me,’ says Javed Akhtar sharing the audience’s reaction after he schooled Pakistan over 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks

Javed Akhtar was recently in Pakistan for a literary festival in Lahore, where he made a scathing and admonishing comment about the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks roaming freely in Pakistan. A video of the lyricist-writer making the comment at the festival held in the memory of legendary Urdu poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz had gone viral and received lots of praise. Now, Javed has revealed the audience’s reaction to his remark at the Pakistan event.

In a new interview to a news channel, Javed said that his comment about the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks was well-received in Pakistan. He said, “They all clapped. They agreed with me. There are many people who admire India, want to have a relationship with us. We tend to think of countries as monolith. That is not the case. How do we connect with millions of people, who want to connect with India."

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He was also asked whether this was the right time for India and Pakistan to indulge in bilateral talks and if a middle ground was needed. To this Akhtar said, “I don't have that kind of caliber (to respond to this query). People who are in power, who are holding that position, understand what is happening, what is the situation how to go about it. Pakistan Army, Pakistani people, Pakistani establishment are not on the same page... People who run the country know better. My information is little. We in India have very limited information about Pak people. Same is the case with them."

At the event, when addressing the gathering at the Pakistan festival, Akhtar said that as someone, who had witnessed firsthand horrors of the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai, it would be wrong to expect Indians to ignore that the perpetrators of those attacks are perhaps still living freely in Pakistan. He said, “The attackers weren’t from Norway, or from Egypt. They are still present in your country, so you should not be offended if an Indian complains about this.” He also said that while India has hosted several Pakistani artists in the past, Pakistan has never hosted singer Lata Mangeshkar.

On November 26, 2008, 10 Pakistani terrorists entered India by the sea route and opened fire indiscriminately killing 166 people, including 18 security personnel, and injuring several others, besides damaging property worth crores including the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, The Oberoi Trident and others. The then Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) chief Hemant Karkare, Army Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, Mumbai's Additional Police Commissioner Ashok Kamte and Senior Police Inspector Vijay Salaskar were among those who lost their lives in the 26/11 attack. Terrorist Ajmal Qasab was the sole terrorist who was arrested by the police and later given a fair trial.

(Source: NDTV/Twitter)