Pakistan Gives Indian Journalists The Boot

Posted May 14th, 2014 at 3:29 pm (UTC+0)
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Pakistani journalists chant slogans during a protest, called by PFUJ, against the attack on television anchorperson Hamid Mir, outside the press club in IslamabadThe government of Pakistan is expelling two Indian journalists, a move that New Delhi calls a “retrograde step.”

Press Trust of India‘s (PTI) Snehesh Alex Philip and The Hindu‘s Meena Menon received letters late Tuesday evening from the Pakistan government’s External Publicity Wing notifying them that it would not extend their visas and giving them until May 20 to leave the country.

“We have been given no notice, no reason and no rationale for this virtual expulsion by the Pakistan government that keeps affirming that they want improved relations with India, PTI‘s Editor-in-Chief and CEO M. K. Razdan said.

The move comes days ahead of installation of a new government in India and diplomatic observers say that the Pakistan’s unilateral action will not go down well with New Delhi.

“​It is regrettable and unfortunate that the two Indian correspondents in Pakistan have been asked to leave prematurely and suddenly only a few months after their arrival there,” Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said.

Pakistani authorities have so far made no statement.

Nuclear rivals India and Pakistan reached  an agreement 40 years ago that would allow two reporters from each country.  India says that allowing journalists would be an important means of building confidence between the two countries.

It was just one year ago that Pakistan also expelled New York Times Islamabad bureau chief Declan Walsh.

Although the notice came from the Ministry of Interior, Declan Walsh and  the Times believe Pakistan’s military was behind his expulsion.
According to an April 30 Amnesty International report, “A bullet has been chosen for you”:  Attacks on journalists in Pakistan, Walsh said the military was unhappy about his reporting on a number of sensitive issues, including the military’s role in enforced disappearances nd killings of killing of Baloch separatists and the US drone program.



“Pakistan’s media community is effectively under siege,” David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia-Pacific Director, said in late April on releasing that report.  “Journalists, in particular those covering national security issues or human rights, are targeted from all sides in a disturbing pattern of abuses carried out to silence their reporting.”

Cecily Hilleary
Cecily began her reporting career in the 1990s, covering US Middle East policy for an English-language network in the UAE. She has lived and/or worked in the Middle East, North Africa and Gulf, consulting and producing for several regional radio and television networks and production houses, including MBC, Al-Arabiya, the former Emirates Media Incorporated and Al-Ikhbaria. She brings to VOA a keen understanding of global social, cultural and political issues.

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