Speaking of Bollywood veteran Shabana Azmi and her lyricist-writer husband Javed Akhtar’s move of cancelling their visit to Karachi after the Pulwama attack, Karachi Arts Council President Ahmed Shah said that he regretted the couple’s decision. Shah made this statement during a press conference. He also condemned Akhtar, adding that the way he attacked Pakistan and “crossed the line” did not seem appropriate for a literary person. Shah said that Kaifi Azmi being among the top poets of the subcontinent, we were compiling his poetry as we were endeavouring to conserve the cultural heritage of the sub-continent. He said he was really disappointed by the last sentence of Shabana’s tweet, which said, “We shall have to call a halt to these cultural exchanges.” “We didn’t react because we know that there are people who want to promote hatred,” he added. He said that in the present-day world, people-to-people contacts were supposed to be the most effective way of mending ties between countries and the fact that Javed and Shabana had refused to come over for the conference was not a happy augury for such ties. “I strongly condemn Javed Akhtar. I do respect his talent but I cannot take anything against my country,” said Shah. A conference was planned to be held around February 23 at the Arts Council to launch the Kuliyat and other books by Kaifi Azmi. Published in Daily Times, February 18th 2019.