The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Kiss of real life for reel Meera

New Delhi, March 23: Hisses in Pakistan for an alleged kiss on screen and missing a march in India for a visa gone amiss ' Meera is mired in misery.

The Pakistani actor landed in Delhi this morning to attend the launch of an India-Pakistan peace march but could get out of the airport only in the evening after a harrowing experience because of an immigration hitch.

Her fault was that instead of entering India through Mumbai, she arrived in Delhi.

Minutes after reaching her hotel after a seven-hour struggle, Meera said: 'This is the first time in my life I have experienced something that an ordinary woman has to go through.'

Meera flew from Karachi to Delhi by a PIA flight to express solidarity with the marchers who will travel from Delhi to Multan. She has a multiple-entry as well as a multi-city visa, permitting her to visit Mumbai and Delhi.

But there is a rule that the visitor has to enter through and exit from the same place. 'If there is a change, it has to be mentioned in the passport. In her case, it was not mentioned. The passport gave her port of entry as Mumbai,' said an external affairs ministry official.

The glitch had gone unnoticed at first, Meera had walked out of the airport and was waiting for a car.

'An immigration official came from behind and almost snatched her passport,' said Shubhradeep Chakraborty, who had gone to receive Meera.

Mahesh Bhatt, who directed her in Nazar, the movie allegedly with the kissing scene for which fundamentalists in Pakistan threatened to bomb her press conference, lobbied with the authorities not to send her back to Pakistan.

'Had she been stopped by the PIA officials at Karachi itself, this problem wouldn't have arisen. I don't know how this has happened,' said Bhatt. Their efforts succeeded around 4.30 just when it seemed Meera would be put on a plane to Lahore.

'From 11.45 am to 6 pm, I was held up at the airport. Bahut mamooli si baat thi, lekin mein airport mein tung rahi,' she said later.

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