Pak govt should explain why Kher was denied visa: BJP

New Delhi, Feb 3 (PTI): The Pakistan government should explain on what grounds actor Anupam Kher was denied a visa to travel to that country, BJP today said while noting that India has been “liberal” in granting visas to Pakistani artistes.

“Why has Pakistan singled out and discriminated against the noted Bollywood artiste. The Pakistan government should clarify as well as rectify its mistake,” BJP secretary Shrikant Sharma said.

The Indian government has been liberal in granting visas to Pakistani artistes visiting and performing in India and has been liberal in granting visas to them.

Exchange of artistes helps promote peace and improves ties among people, he said.

BJP also questioned the silence of ‘intellectuals’ active in the intolerance debate “after being so vocal in the past”.

“It is surprising that so-called pseudo-secular brigade which was so vocal at the instance of Congress and its partners in the past, have suddenly turned silent now,” Sharma said.

Earlier in the day, Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit called up Kher and offered him a visa to travel to that country if he had applied for the same but the Bollywood actor declined the offer, saying he has already taken up other assignments on the scheduled dates.

Pakistan High Commission officials said Basit had called up Kher yesterday after the actor said he was denied visa to attend the Karachi Literary Festival while 17 others were issued the travel document.

Kher was denied a visa by the Pakistan government to attend the festival, prompting him to suggest that the decision may have been influenced by his stand on the issue of Kashmiri Pandits and his support for Prime Minister Narendra Modi.