PPP condemns expulsion of US journalist from Pak

January 13th, 2008 - 3:07 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Benazir Bhutto

Islamabad, Jan 13 (ANI): Condemning the alleged expulsion of an American journalist, who wrote in The New York Times Magazine about the rise of pro-Taliban militants in Pakistan, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has demanded immediate lifting of ban on the entry of foreign journalists to the country.

Last week, authorities in Pakistan deported US journalist Nicholas Schmidle.

PPP information secretary Sherry Rehman said that despite the lifting of the so-called emergency, the regime continued to hound media on one pretext or the other.

Schmidles deportation comes on the heels of a report by Reporters Sans Frontier (RSF) that described Pakistan as the most dangerous Asian country for the media in 2007, the Daily Times quoted Rehman, as saying.

Expressing concern over the state of media in the country, she said the RSF reported that the year 2007 was particularly bad for Pakistani journalists as six scribes lost their lives, while 30 were seriously injured in various incidents including police clampdown and at least 120 were arrested.

Rehman further said that it was astonishing to see that 34 journalists in Sindh were booked on the charge of rioting following ex-premier Benazir Bhuttos assassination.

A Pakistani official, however, denied that Schmidle had been deported, adding that the latter lacked a journalist visa.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists has expressed its concern over deportation of Schmidle whose report Next-Gen Taliban appeared in The New York Times Magazine on January 6.

The article contained interviews with anti-government Taliban leaders and was written from the tumultuous Baluchistan province, and its capital, Quetta.

According to Scott Malcomson, Schmidles editor at the magazine, the Pakistan Interior Ministry officials gave him no explanation for his deportation.

Malcomson, however, maintained that the deportation clearly was connected to his writing rather than anything else he was doing.

Security services members visited Schmidle on Monday, and the local police gave him a deportation order on Tuesday, according to Malcomson. (ANI)

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