Krishna orders visa for Pakistani painter

Patna: Seeking to push forward the Indian government`s initiative of improving ties with Pakistan, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna has directed the Indian High Commission in Islamabad to issue visa to Pakistani painter Md Awan, whose application was rejected earlier this year.

In a letter to Shivanand Tiwary, Rajya Sabha member and JD (U) General Secretary, Krishna referred to Tiwary`s special mention in Rajya Sabha on March 8 regarding the demand for issuance of visa to the Pakistani painter.

Stating that the matter was taken up with the Indian High Commission in Islamabad, the letter said Md Awan had applied for a visa early January and his application was rejected for "lack of supporting documents."

The high commission has been directed to issue a visa to Md Awan, he said in the letter, which was made available to the media today.

Tiwary had demanded that Pakistani artists should be given visas in order to promote neighbourly relations.

He cited an example of A Waseel Awan, a Pakistani painter who made a portrait of Mahatma Gandhi with his blood.

Similarly, Pakistani writers who wanted to attend the Jaipur literary festival were not given visas, he said in Rajya Sabha adding that India was not helping moderate elements in Pakistan.