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

The rich boys
Updated 22 Sep 2021

The rich boys

Such is the toxic masculinity of these rich boys that no one is safe from it.
Going nuclear
22 Sep 2021

Going nuclear

Australia may regret its ‘forever partnership’ with the US.
Politics’ winged chariot
Updated 21 Sep 2021

Politics’ winged chariot

When others are shifting gears to election preparations, the PML-N is caught in its internal woes.

Editorial

22 Sep 2021

Interest rate hike

THE State Bank’s decision to raise its key interest rate by 25bps to 7.25pc underpins its acceptance of emerging...
PCB chief’s challenge
Updated 22 Sep 2021

PCB chief’s challenge

The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan has propelled fears of regional insecurity.
22 Sep 2021

No need for secrecy

THE government should not make a mountain out of the Toshakhana molehill. That would only encourage speculation of...
What’s the game?
21 Sep 2021

What’s the game?

Such brinkmanship is being fuelled by incendiary rhetoric as well as inflexible demands of a unilateral nature.
21 Sep 2021

Gas price hike

THE proposed hike of 24pc-37pc in the gas price of the top 23pc residential consumers, who account for 43pc of the...
21 Sep 2021

Green Line buses

AT long last, the first batch of vehicles for Karachi’s Green Line bus project arrived from China on Sunday,...