LAHORE: Indian singer and actor Gippy Grewal was barred from entering Pakistan through Wagah Border on Friday as the Indian immigration authorities reportedly stopped him at the Atari border on Friday.
According to sources in the Evacuee Propriety Trust Board, arrangements were in place to receive the singer at the border as he was scheduled to visit Kartarpur.
“He was to move to Kartarpur (Narowal) at 9:30am and return to Lahore by 3:30pm. Later, Gippy was scheduled to attend a reception at Governor House. On Jan 29, he was to visit Nankana Sahib before his return to India,” an ETPB official told Dawn.
According to another source, Mr Grewal was to enter Pakistan through Wagah border on a two-day visit with some six or seven other people but he was stopped at the Atari check post.
“He was also to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Lahore and then he had meetings at the Governor House. The next day he was supposed to leave for Nankana Sahib to pay respects at the Sikh religious site,” he explained.
Sources said Mr Grewal had a long schedule of meetings in Pakistan, including with film people, at the Governor House to discuss joint film ventures between the two sides.
Sources said last time when Grewal visited Kartarpur, he got mingled with people and showed great enthusiasm, warmth and love for Pakistanis and the places he visited. His visit was given ample coverage in the Pakistani media.
Mr Grewal is a popular figure in Pakistan, especially with Punjabi film audience, and internationally too, his films, such as ‘Carry on Jutta’ and ‘Lucky Di Unlucky Story’ topped popularity charts.
The film and theatre fraternity in Pakistan condemned the Indian authorities for stopping Mr Grewal.
Comedian Iftikhar Thakur said artistes always bridge up between nations.
“It is so sad that Grewal was stopped like this from entering Pakistan,” he said.
Published in Dawn, January 29th, 2022