The Interior Ministry on Friday ordered to close down operations of Radio Mashaal, a Pashto language broadcaster linked to the US-funded Radio Free Europe, on recommendations of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

A notification issued by the ministry, directed towards Islamabad chief commissioner and police chief, said that as per an ISI report, the radio airs programmes "found against the interests of Pakistan and in line with hostile intelligence agency's agenda".

It said that the four main themes of the programmes aired by the service include "portraying Pakistan as a hub of terrorism and safe haven for militant groups, propagating Pakistan as a failed state in terms of providing security to its minorities and Pakhtuns, presenting the Pakhtuns of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and Balochistan as being disenchanted with the state, and distorting facts to incite people against state and its institutions".

The ministry, thus, decided to close down the radio's regional office located in Islamabad and terminate its activities.

The Czech-based Radio Free Europe first began its services in Fata in 2010 by the name of Radio Mashaal with an aim of providing "an alternative to the growing number of extremist radio stations in the region".

Radio Free Europe was also among nine outlets Russia accused of being "foreign agents" last month.

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