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Declan Walsh — File Photo
Declan Walsh — File Photo

ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MoIB) has expressed concerns over the failure of the interior ministry to seek its endorsement while issuing visas to foreign journalists, granting extensions to them and cancelling them.

The MoIB has taken up the issue with the interior ministry in the wake of expulsion of Declan Walsh, the bureau chief of New York Times, from the country.

In a letter sent to the interior ministry on Tuesday, the MoIB observed that the former had bypassed the Rules of Business 1973 under which visa-related matters of foreign journalists were to be routed through the external publicity wing of the information ministry.

Referring to the case of Mr Walsh, the letter said he was granted extension in visa after expiry of his eighth extension on Jan 11 without endorsement of the information ministry and later the extension was cancelled without consulting the ministry.

It asked the interior ministry to explain why it had bypassed the MoIB while granting extension to the visa and later cancelling it.

Mr Walsh was handed over a note issued by the interior ministry on May 9, two days before general elections, and asked to leave the country in 72 hours. The note said his visa had been cancelled because of his ‘undesirable activities’ but offered no explanation.

Mr Walsh had been working in Pakistan since 2004.

Comments (5) Closed

Yusuf May 15, 2013 08:14am

If Declan has done anyting wrong, lets hear about it. If not, we will have to believe that he had uncovered (or was about to) uncover news that our Military/Establishment does not want published.

Shaheen May 15, 2013 01:21pm

I wish all institutions and establishments understand that we are supposed to be free we are no more a colony and the Pakistan's government and politician's first and foremost duty is to Pakistan and all those living in it and not some remote faraway country that has historical scores to settle in this region. Enough damage has been done by the selfish self serving colonial minded so called friends. Please all Pakistanis wake up and shake off the cobwebs of colonialism and for once smash your begging bowl. You can do it!!!

Shaheen May 15, 2013 01:24pm

I suppose Declan was about to uncover the meticulously planned rigging!!

FarmerDr May 15, 2013 02:05pm

When will we learn that authoritarianism is counter productive? Due process is crucial. Shortcut ad hoc decision making mires us in deeper and deeper trouble.

The discretionary powers of administrators need to be made immediately accountable and effectively punished when misused.

Ahmed May 15, 2013 07:26pm

The real question is, what was he working on for so long? I have serious concerns over the long stays foreign media representatives enjoy in Pakistan. What if this was a Raymond Davis like incident that didn't get enough local media attention this time? Media personnel do have considerably easy access to a lot of places without question or harm in Pakistan. Something to think about there.