Mumbai: A day after Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) issued a 48-hour ultimatum to all Pakistani artistes to leave India, the Samajwadi Party threw a challenge on Saturday by asking it to send "suicide bombers" to take revenge for the Uri terror strike.
Taking strong umbrage at the threats, Maharashtra SP President Abu Asim Azmi said instead of threatening Pakistani artistes staying or working here legally, the MNS President Raj Thackeray must show guts and send his suicide bombers to Pakistan.
"Raj Thackeray is a very small leader with influence only in Maharashtra. He has no need to speak about Pakistan. Pakistan sends its suicide squads to India... If he is so angry, then he should send his own suicide squads to Pakistan for revenge," Azmi told mediapersons.
If he cannot do that, then at least send MNS activists to tackle the Maoists in Gadchiroli and Chandrapur to end the violence there, the SP chief added sarcastically.
His reaction came to the MNS' statement on Friday asking all Pakistani film or teleserial artistes and singers to leave India within 48 hours, or by Sunday, failing which they could face consequences.
The "ghar-wapasi" deadline to Pakistanis was made by MNS vice-presidents Shalini Thackeray, Vageesh Saraswat and MNS Chitrapat Sena chief Amey Khopkar at a media briefing.
However, Joint Police Commissioner (Liamp;O) Deven Bharti assured that all foreign nationals living or working in Mumbai with valid papers should not worry.
Bharti also said that if required, the police would also provide adequate security to them.
The MNS leaders also said if the Pakistani actors fail to leave, they would be chased and beaten up in "MNS-style", their shootings would be disrupted and their films would not be permitted to release.
The MNS' aggressive stance came in the wake of the September 18 terror attack in Uri, Jammu and Kashmir, which left 18 Indian soldiers dead.
Among the Pakistani actors and singers known to be based in Mumbai or frequenting the city are Fawad Khan, Ali Zafar, Atif Aslam, Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Salman Ahmad, Mahira Khan and Ali Azmat.
"This is not a veiled threat.. This is a direct challenge to producers like Karan Johar who promote Pakistani artistes. We are writing to all production houses asking them not to give work to Pakistani artistes," Shalini Thackeray said.
Saraswat said that in the past they had issued similar warnings and always stuck by them. "Now, we have given them a specific time-bound deadline.. Their countdown has begun.. If they don't pack up and leave in 48 hours, we shall chase them away."
The party also warned they would not permit the release of any Bollywood films having Pakistani actors, including the upcoming "Aye Dil Hai Muskhil" and "Raees".
The MNS order would also apply to sportspersons and singers, he added.