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Indian Journalists Told To Leave Pakistan Within Week

by AFP
Narinder Nanu—AFP

Narinder Nanu—AFP

Information ministry official confirms their visas have expired and they have been informed there will be no extensions.

Islamabad has ordered the only two Indian journalists stationed in the country to leave within a week, telling them their visas would not be renewed, officials said Wednesday.

Meena Menon of The Hindu newspaper and Snehesh Alex Philip of the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency were given letters late on Tuesday telling them they must leave Pakistan by May 20. Both journalists had been posted in Pakistan for less than a year and no reason was given for the decision to deny them new visas.

The move comes just days before the results of India’s general elections, with Hindu hardliner Narendra Modi expected to triumph.

Pakistan and India have fought three wars since independence from British rule in 1947 and relations are perennially strained. The neighbors have had an arrangement in place since the 1980s to allow a small number of journalists in each others’ capital cities, but there has been no Pakistani reporter in New Delhi since 2010.

“The two Indian journalists based in Islamabad have been asked to leave by May 20th,” said an information ministry official. “Their visas expired and they were informed that there will not be further extensions,” the official said on condition of anonymity without giving any reason for the decision.

M. K. Razdan, the editor-in-chief and CEO of PTI, said there was “no rationale and no reason” for the move. “It is a unilateral action and absolutely no reason has been given,” he said. “We have other arrangements for news coverage in Pakistan but since decades the norm has been that the main correspondent to Pakistan is sent from India.” He added it was too early to say whether the agency would apply to send a replacement for Philip.

The Pakistani government led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has sought to improve ties with India since its election in May last year. But there are fears of renewed tensions if Modi’s rightwing Bharatiya Janata Party comes to power in Delhi.

Indian journalists working in Pakistan have complained in the past of harassment by authorities including constant monitoring by intelligence agents. Just days before the general elections last May, the New York Times correspondent in Pakistan, Declan Walsh, was expelled at short notice with little explanation given.

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rizwan May 14, 2014 - 8:54 pm

Reported by Indian and giving no pakistani point of view….. is this newsweek pakistan?

Dr. Salim Haidrani: London: UK May 14, 2014 - 10:59 pm

It is increasing becoming dangerous to notice that the current elected government is again losing out its grip on the foreign policy to the army establishment. We know Pakistani journalists, writers and human rights workers are not safe in Pakistan but expelling Indian journalists from Pakistan shows that the conflict between two powerful institutions: parliament and the GHQ, has widen further. If this conflict continues as it seems then we must wait for something bigger to happen.

At the moment, Pakistan faces three main obvious conflicts, Imran Khan on the streets of Islamabad, Nawaz government versus Taliban, army versus the rest. People of Pakistan are suffering from all of these conflicts and I hope democrats in Pakistan will try to find a better solution to serve the interests of the common Pakistanis.

Javaid Bashir May 15, 2014 - 10:02 pm

These Journalists must be involved in some clandestine activities. Their duration of stay in Pakistan has not been long. Mostly the journalist are facilitated to overcome visa problems. Their job’ importance is considered for the extension of the visas.

Normally visas are extended .The host country is not supposed to give any explanation for the denial of this privilege.


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