ISLAMABAD May 14 Pakistan has told both Indian
journalists stationed in Islamabad that they must leave within a
week, the journalists told Reuters on Wednesday, saying they had
been informed that their visas would not be renewed.
The move came amid simmering tensions between Pakistan's
powerful military and a civilian government that appears dovish
towards archrival 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. No reason
was given. Both had been in Pakistan for less than a year.
Pakistan has become an increasingly dangerous place for
journalists to operate, but restrictions put on Indian
reporters' movements are stricter than for other foreign
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.
The two nuclear-armed neighbours have fought three wars
since they became separate countries in 1947. Their governments
have a reciprocal arrangement allowing two correspondents from
each country to be stationed in the other's capital.
Pakistani journalists face much greater threats than
foreigners. 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 was implicated in
numerous cases of abductions, torture, and killings, an Amnesty
International report said last month.
The defense 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 government expelled a reporter from The New
(Additional reporting by Sruthi Gottipati in Delhi; Writing by
Katharine Houreld; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)