Give security to Shah Rukh, Malik tells India

Islamabad, Jan 29 (IANS) India should provide security to Shah Rukh Khan, said Interior Minister Rehman Malik, wading into a controversy triggered by Jamaat-ud Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed stating that the star could move to Pakistan following his comments on being a Muslim.

"He is born Indian and he would like to remain Indian," Malik told reporters Monday at a reception organised by Indian High Commissioner Sharat Sabharwal to mark India's Republic Day.

"But I will say...request to the government of India, please provide him security and I would like to request all Indian brothers and sisters and all those who talking negative against Shah Rukh they should know he is a movie star.

"He is loved as a star by the people of Pakistan and he is loved by the people of India so why to create some kind of hate," he added.

Hafiz Saeed had said Shah Rukh could move to Pakistan if he does not feel safe in India after the superstar gave a first person account for Outlook Turning Points magazine, published in association with The New York Times newspaper.

The 47-year-old actor wrote: "I sometimes become the inadvertent object of political leaders who choose to make me a symbol of all that they think is wrong and unpatriotic about Muslims in India."

"There have been occasions when I have been accused of bearing allegiance to our neighbouring nation rather than my own country - this even though I am an Indian, whose father fought for the freedom of India. Rallies have been held where leaders have exhorted me to leave and return what they refer to my original homeland," added the superstar of Hindi cinema.

He went on say that he became so sick of being mistaken for some crazed terrorist, "who co-incidentally carries the same name as mine that I made a film subtly titled 'My Name Is Khan' (and I am not a terrorist) to prove a point".

Set in post 9/11 US, "My Name Is Khan" focuses on religious and national identities through Rizwan, played by Shah Rukh, who has Asperger's Syndrome,.

"Ironically, I was interrogated at the airport for hours about my last name when I was going to promote the film in America for the first time," said the filmstar.

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