India Reacts with Outrage as Pak Orders out Two of its Journos

Published: 15th May 2014 08:32 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th May 2014 08:32 AM   |  A+A-

The Centre on Wednesday reacted with outrage at Pakistan’s decision to virtually expel the only two Indian journalists posted in the Islamic Republic, terming it a “retrograde step”. Interestingly, New Delhi, also for the first-time, stated on the record that it had become a bogey in the battle for one-upmanship between Islamabad’s military and the political establishment on key national issues.

In fact, it was late on Tuesday that Press Trust of India’s Snehesh Alex Philip and Meena Menon of The Hindu received the communique that their visas would not be extended and that they would have to leave Pakistan by May 20. The duo had been in Pakistan for just nine months having replaced their predecessors in August.

On the basis of a mutual understanding, India and Pakistan post two journalists in each other’s country. Since 2011, no Pakistani reporters, who are usually from the state media, have sought permission to work in India. 

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said here it was “regrettable and unfortunate” that the two Indian journalists “have been asked to leave prematurely and suddenly only a few months after their arrival there”.

“Not allowing independent journalists to function is a retrograde step especially as free flow of information between India and Pakistan has long been recognised as an important confidence building measure(CBM),” he said.

Acknowledging that the expulsion of Indian journalists could be related to Pakistan’s domestic power struggle, the MEA spokesperson noted, “We are surprised that there have been numerous allegations against India in the ongoing controversy in Pakistan on media freedom and the different views of Pakistan institutions thereto.””The stationing of journalists and free flow of information is an important CBM and should be safeguarded by all concerned,” he affirmed.According to sources, the two journalists had been informally told some 10 days earlier about this imminent move, but they had also been informed that a ‘solution’ was being explored. But, the official letter nixed any such hope.

The hand of the military establishment, which has constantly taken a stridently anti-India line, is seen behind the abrupt ‘expulsion’, especially due to a very public battle with the media. The tug-of-war is also seen as proxy battle for domination by a resurgent Army under General Raheelf Sharif against the civilian government.


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