Following criticism for his reported comment that it "would be better if I was from Pakistan", singer Sonu Nigam on Wednesday said he has immense respect for global musicians, including Pakistani singers, but he wishes Indian artists should be given same facilities as their foreign counterparts.
Nigam was quoted as saying at a media summit over the weekend that sometimes he wishes he was from Pakistan so he would get more offers from India.
"I have always been of the opinion that everyone should be welcomed in India. I'm very friendly to Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Atif Aslam, Shafqat Amanat Ali has a lovely voice and I'm of this belief that everyone must get equal respect in our country...
"But in the same breath I'd like to add that Indian artists should be given the same facilities as their foreign counterparts and If that doesn't happen then it's unfair," Sonu said in a statement issued on Wednesday.
The singer said most artistes belong to a certain music company, which earns by charging "percentage from every of its artist's remuneration which is a great business strategy and is working well for all concerned".
"My only point was that this same percentage rule should apply to foreign artists as well. Only for the sake of equality and transparency of all artists from all over the world in our country," he added.
In a Facebook post on Tuesday, he said that the remark was taken out of context and has been used to create "sensational" headlines.
"My point about being better off being born in Pakistan was about the music companies in India asking Indian singers to pay 40-50 per cent of their concerts remunerations to them, and only then they'll work with those artists... But they don't ask the same from the singers from abroad, namely Pakistan. This was the important point I made... And these guys... changed it to 'I would have been better off born in Pakistan I'd have work come my way.' What do I say? Pathetic," Nigam wrote on Facebook.
The singer is also under fire for his reported defence at the same event of composer Anu Malik, who has been named under India's #MeToo chapter.
Nigam was quoted as saying at a media summit over the weekend that Malik, his long time friend, was accused without any proof and had maintained a dignified silence on the #MeToo allegations.
The singer was panned across social media by people, including colleague Sona Mohapatra, who alleged Malik as a "serial predator". He is yet to comment on his defence of Malik.
(With inputs from agencies.)