India’s refusal to allow journalists to visit Pakistan condemned

Published August 5, 2021
India’s refusal to allow a group of India-based foreign journalists to travel to Pakistan via Wagah border crossing has stoked concern about press freedom in India. — Reuters/File
India’s refusal to allow a group of India-based foreign journalists to travel to Pakistan via Wagah border crossing has stoked concern about press freedom in India. — Reuters/File

ISLAMABAD: India’s refusal to allow a group of India-based foreign journalists to travel to Pakistan via Wagah border crossing has stoked concern about press freedom in India.

A group of five journalists was invited by Pakistan government to attend the Aug 5 session of Azad Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly, besides meeting Prime Minister Imran Khan and other officials.

The group, which included Emily Schinall (The New York Times), Alex Travelli (The Economist), Eoun Rocha (Reuters), and Peter Rober Hornung (ARD Germany) was to visit Pakistan from Aug 3 to 7 along with Pakistan High Commission Delhi’s Press Attache Jamil Baitu.

The fifth member — Andreas Benedikt Babst (Neue Zurcher Zeitung, Switzerland) — is already in Pakistan and would have returned with the group at the end of the trip.

The invitation for the group was part of government efforts to promote its narrative on Kashmir.

Since there were no available flights, Pakistan requested Indian authorities to allow them to travel via the Wagah-Attari border crossing, which is otherwise closed for routine travel except for diplomats and emergency cases because of Covid-19 pandemic.

However, the Indian authorities declined to allow them to travel through the Wagah border citing existing restrictions.

Indian refusal prompted Pakistani leaders to raise concern about freedom of press in India under the Modi government.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi led the charge, saying independence of media was shrinking under Modi. He tweeted: “The denial of permission by India to 5 international journalists to travel to Pakistan, in which a visit to the Azad Kashmir Assembly was scheduled, is another damning indication of shrinking space for free speech and independent journalism under a dictatorial regime.”

Published in Dawn, August 5th, 2021

Opinion

Editorial

Taliban anniversary
15 Aug, 2022

Taliban anniversary

A YEAR ago on this day, the Afghan Taliban rolled into Kabul as the Western-backed government fell like a house of...
Extreme measures
Updated 15 Aug, 2022

Extreme measures

Government has overreacted to a degree that has given ammunition to the PTI to accuse it of ‘fascism’.
A depraved society
15 Aug, 2022

A depraved society

IF the extent of sexual violence against women and children is any measure of a society’s moral degradation, then ...
Taking stock
Updated 14 Aug, 2022

Taking stock

There are numerous reasons behind our predicament, and many of our wounds are self-inflicted.
Medicine in short supply
14 Aug, 2022

Medicine in short supply

THAT rising import prices of pharmaceutical raw materials and increasing production costs of manufacturers have...
Police excesses
Updated 13 Aug, 2022

Police excesses

Crass thuggery and victimisation of ordinary citizens are unlikely to earn govt plaudits from any quarter.