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Pakistan expels NY Times reporter before elections

Published May 11, 2013 07:16am


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— File Photo
— File Photo

NEW YORK: Pakistan is expelling The New York Times' Islamabad bureau chief on the eve of national elections, accusing him of unspecified ''undesirable activities,'' the newspaper said on Friday.

Declan Walsh, a longtime foreign correspondent who had been covering the country for the Times since January 2012, was handed a two-sentence letter early Thursday ordering him to leave, the newspaper said.

Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson protested the expulsion in a letter to Pakistan's interior minister, Malik Muhammad Habib Khan. Abramson described Walsh as a ''reporter of integrity who has at all times offered balanced, nuanced and factual reporting on Pakistan.''

Abramson wrote that the accusation of ''undesirable activities'' was ''vague and unsupported, and Mr. Walsh has received no further explanation of any alleged wrongdoing.''

''On eve of Pakistani elections, been asked to leave,'' Walsh, 39, wrote on Twitter. Walsh, who worked for The Guardian newspaper of Britain prior to joining the Times, was quoted as saying that his expulsion was ''a complete bolt from the blue. I had no inclination that anything of this sort was coming.''

He lived and worked in Pakistan for the past nine years.

In recent days, Walsh reported on political patronage in Pakistan and the fatal shooting of the prosecutor who was investigating the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

Saturday's vote would be the first time in Pakistan's 65-year history that a civilian government has completed its full term and handed over power in democratic elections.

Previous governments have been toppled by military coups or sacked by presidents allied with the powerful army.


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Comments (22) Closed

Abu Zainab May 11, 2013 08:19am
Sad news. The guy has lived there for nine years and had become a household name among English speaking readers in Pakistan. Must have been cleared by security agencies many times. I hope the interim government reviews their decision and save Pakistan from any humiliation.
Iftikhar Husain May 11, 2013 11:14am
No comments as full facts are not available.
Shaukat Basit May 11, 2013 07:19pm
Yes, its only you A.Jan.
Scorpio May 12, 2013 07:12am
A reader from India: Although it is difficult for Indians to know true reason behind it, but going by sentiment, the up beat mood of the people of Pakistan to support democratic process, any one who seems to be spreading negativity about Pakistan at this time should be thrown out, at least temporarily if not permanently. Reporters from US and UK are generally cynical about Good things in Pakistan and report things in a bad light that affect the moral of the people. From India.
Faisal May 11, 2013 08:10pm
He was kicked out when he started to report about the killing of the prosecutor investigating the Benazir Bhutto Assasination. That is food for thought. Maybe some powerful people did not like him getting close to the facts of the case.
Pakistan May 11, 2013 03:16pm
good job
karim May 11, 2013 02:16am
Mr Walsh has resided and worked in Pakistan for almost a decade. If the government wanted international coverage that was understandable and balanced about Pakistan it should have cultivated him. But then again Government of Pakistan is run by fools.
Mir May 11, 2013 02:41am
Great first step and dont make no excuses for it.
Muhammad Zafrul Islam May 11, 2013 02:52am
Nothing must be compromised on the national interest . . be it any one . . .be him a big might . . . the heavy weights are on most of occasions spies . . and who is not aware of the US modalities . . .
imtiaz May 11, 2013 03:41am
We don't like truth, so you go home.
Nadeem May 11, 2013 03:50am
The man should have been asked to leave Pakistan very early. He has reported and always portrayed a very negative image of Pakistan. He was like on a mission to paint a negative Pakistan.
Arthemis May 11, 2013 04:03am
its not good and fair. if someone tell the truth you cannot suppress him. this is what we strangulate the press.
Jalaluddin S. Hussain May 11, 2013 04:32am
It is highly important that international newspapers' reporters and correspondents in Pakistan, limit themselves strictly to their professional duties.
Abid May 11, 2013 04:34am
Excellent Job. Pakistan should keep all these foreign trouble makers out.
JFK May 11, 2013 04:41am
This is very wrong. Mr Walsh should stay and continue to report.
khan May 11, 2013 05:19am
Good JOb, this is the begining , When Imran Khan Wins. All these American haters will be deported inshallah.
Nazir K Ali May 11, 2013 05:42am
Very good! They think they are "cocks of the roost." They behave as if their word is the final opinion on everything going on in the country. Salams
A Jan May 11, 2013 05:44am
Is it just me or does the expression accused of engaging in "undesirable activities" makes everyone's imagination run wild
hussain May 11, 2013 06:17am
Good job, I knew the bugger, he came for a visit to Waziristan on a visit, and on his return filed a piece in Guardian which was factually incorrect. We need to throw out more of the same category as they serve a specific agenda.
raja May 11, 2013 06:36am
A very good decision
Shair Khan May 11, 2013 07:24am
it is share to expel the journalist. Do we have some thing to hide?
Malik - Aus May 11, 2013 07:53am
Very Good news and should MOI should elaborate more adn give details out.. I am glad to see we are such bold steps to ensure integrity and respect of our beloved country. Kick any such person out who does not value Pakistan regulations. Wish that American killer in Lahore was treated same way before he claimed valued Paki lives.....