National / World

Rushdie Factor: Imran Khan Won't Attend India Today Conclave


New Delhi, Mar 14 (IANS): Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan has refused to attend the India Today conclave this week because of the presence of "The Satanic Verses" author Salman Rushdie, the organisers said Wednesday.

"We deeply regret that Imran Khan will not address the India Today Conclave because of Salman Rushdie's participation. The India Today Conclave is a platform for free and frank exchange of ideas," India Today Group chairman Aroon Purie in a statement.

The conclave is being held March 16-17. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan was one of the listed speakers along with former Malaysian deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim, former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger, anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare, minister Kapil Sibal and Bollywood star Kareena Kapoor.

"We do not endorse the views of any of our speakers but we do stand for the freedom of expression in all that we do; it's an essential principle of a free nation and free media," Poorie said.

"We wish that Imran had used this opportunity to express his views at the conclave with all the force and lucidity that he possesses. We can all agree to disagree but we must present our argument," the statement added.

Khan, who founded this party in 1996 after retiring from cricket, rededicated himself to "Islamic values" in the 1990s.

He said he was committed to a liberal economy, clean governance and an anti militant-vision for a democratic Pakistan at the time of his switch to active politics.

In January this year, Imran Khan has lashed out at Rushdie for "hurting Islamic sentiments" at a literary meet in Kolkata.

"The issue is not what Rushdie wrote (in 'The Satanic Verses'). The real issue is that nobody has the right to inflict pain on a society. We should respect each other and then only we can live peacefully," he said.

Rushdie could not attend the DSC Jaipur Literature Festival in January this year and his video address was also cancelled after several Islamic groups demanded that he should not be allowed to come to India for allegedly hurting religious sentiments of the community in "The Satanic Verses" published in 1988.

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Title : Rushdie Factor: Imran Khan Won't Attend India Today Conclave


 
 
 
 

 
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