Pakistan tells Indian journalists to leave within a week

ISLAMABAD Wed May 14, 2014 10:30pm IST

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan has told both Indian journalists stationed in Islamabad to leave within a week, the two said on Wednesday, and New Delhi criticised this as a retrograde step that would weigh on confidence-building measures between the nuclear-armed rivals.

Tensions are simmering between Pakistan's powerful military and a civilian government that appears dovish towards neighbouring India, where Hindu nationalist opposition leader Narendra Modi appears set to win a general election.

Late on Tuesday night, Snehesh Alex Philip of The Press Trust of India and Meena Menon of The Hindu received letters telling them that their visas would not be renewed, the journalists told Reuters on Wednesday. They said no reason was given. Both had been in Pakistan for less than a year.

"‚ÄčIt is regrettable and unfortunate that the two Indian correspondents in Pakistan have been asked to leave prematurely and suddenly only a few months after their arrival there," Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said.

Pakistani authorities did not return calls seeking comment.

Pakistan has become an increasingly dangerous place for journalists to operate, but restrictions put on the movements of Indian reporters are stricter than those applied to other foreign journalists.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has repeatedly said publicly that he wants to improve relations with India and has pledged to improve press freedoms. But Pakistan's military remains deeply suspicious of both journalists and India.

Pakistan and India have fought three wars since they became separate countries on independence from Britain in 1947. Their governments have a reciprocal deal allowing two correspondents from each country to be stationed in the other's capital.

Pakistani journalists face much greater threats than foreigners, however. At least 34 Pakistani journalists have been killed for their work since Pakistan returned to democracy in 2008, but in only one case has the killer been convicted.

Pakistan's feared military spy agency has been implicated in numerous cases of abductions, torture and killings, an Amnesty International report said last month.

The defence ministry demanded in April that Geo TV, the country's most popular channel, be shut down after it aired accusations that the spy agency was responsible for the shooting of one of its top news anchors.

Last year, the Islamabad government expelled a reporter from The New York Times.

(Additional reporting by Sruthi Gottipati and Krishna N Das in Delhi; Writing by Katharine Houreld; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Pricing Controls

REUTERS SHOWCASE

India-China Relations

India-China Relations

India says to defend China border after standoff ahead of Xi visit.  Full Article 

Importing Iron Ore

Importing Iron Ore

As mining curbs bite, India offers market to glut-hit iron ore.  Full Article 

Lower Output

Lower Output

IOC cuts refinery output as rains hit fuel demand - source.  Full Article 

Drug Approval

Drug Approval

Epirus, Ranbaxy win India approval for arthritis drug copy.  Full Article 

Farming and Technology

Farming and Technology

Climate smart farmers get tech savvy to save India's bread basket.  Full Article 

Rajan Speaks

Rajan Speaks

RBI chief Rajan says limiting reliance on foreign debt.  Full Article 

India-Vietnam Ties

India-Vietnam Ties

India tightens Vietnam defence, oil ties ahead of China Xi's visit.  Full Article 

Debt & Equity Deal

Debt & Equity Deal

KKR to lend $175 million to GMR Infrastructure - source.  Full Article 

Preparing for IPO

Preparing for IPO

Alibaba boosts IPO as demand strengthens.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage