Bollywood lyricist Javed Akhtar with wife actress Shabana Azmi
Bollywood lyricist Javed Akhtar with wife actress Shabana Azmi Image Credit: PTI

In the wake of the terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district, veteran lyricist Javed Akhtar and his wife actress Shabana Azmi have decided not to attend an event in Pakistan.

Akhtar on Friday took to Twitter to share that they will not be joining the event, being organised by the Karachi Art Council.

“Karachi Art Council had invited Shabana and me for a two-day literature conference about Kaifi Azmi and his poetry. We have cancelled that,” he tweeted.

A suicide bomber on Thursday rammed his SUV packed with explosives into a CRPF bus on the Srinagar-Jammu highway in Pulwama district. The death toll in the horrific suicide bombing rose to 49 on Friday.

The Thursday horror was the worst loss to security forces on any single day in Jammu and Kashmir since a separatist campaign broke out in 1989.

Condemning the attack, Azmi said that she is “filled with pain and grief”.

“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. We will need to call halt to cultural exchange,” said Azmi.

“There is no way we can carry on with cultural exchanges between India and Pakistan even as our martyrs are laying down their lives for us. I stand in solidarity with the grieving families,” she added.

An upcoming event in Dubai featuring Akhtar and Azmi, along with a spate of well-known Indian and Pakistani actors, has also been indefinitely postponed in the wake of the deadly attack on Indian security forces.

The three-day Urdu festival, called Jashn-e-Rekhta, was set to make its international debut at the city’s Zabeel Park on February 28. Organisers told Gulf News they were making efforts to refund tickets.

A fresh date for the event was yet to be announced.