New Delhi, Jan 24 (IANS) Sending back Pakistan sportspersons and banning literary persons from taking part in functions in India is "senseless" and "self-defeating", the Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust (Sahmat) said Thursday.
"(Stopping) visas that were to be made available to aged Pakistan(s), sending back Pakistani cricketers and sportswomen, refusing to stage (Saadat Hasan) Manto's plays by visiting Pakistani theatre personalities are measures that manifestly belittle the image of our Republic," Sahmat said in a statement.
"To close down such avenues deliberately is surely senseless and self-defeating and will do nothing to serve the cause of peace and improve relations between our two peoples," it said.
Sahmat said India and Pakistan have a rich cultural legacy to share, of which a common appreciation of Manto and the devotion to the sport of cricket are just two illustrations.
"Sahmat hopes that good sense will prevail and our doors will be soon reopened to ordinary people as well as representatives of culture and sport from Pakistan. It goes without saying that we also hope similar gestures will be made by the government of Pakistan," it added.
Tension flared after the death of Pakistani and Indian soldiers on the Jammu and Kashmir border this month, leading Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to say there cannot be "business as usual" with Pakistan.