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Pak bars foreign journalists in South Punjab

Last Updated: Sunday, December 6, 2009 - 16:56

Lahore: Pakistani authorities have barred foreign journalists from visiting any seminary or other places in southern Punjab province after the Western media reported on the presence of the Taliban in that area.
"All foreign journalists are required to get permission from foreign affairs as well as from interior ministries for visiting any specific place especially in South Punjab," a senior officer of the Punjab government said.

He said in the past foreign journalists had visited different seminaries in the province and published or broadcast "twisted and unfounded" facts.

"We have no issue if they follow journalistic ethics and report correctly," the official said.

Giving example of a UK-based popular TV channel, Regional Police Officer of Bahawalpur division Mushtaq Sukhera said that the TV crew requested for filming various seminaries in Bahawalpur including one of Jaish-e-Mohammad`s chief Maulana Azhar Masood.

"I was rather shocked to see that the TV channel showed that the seminary of Masood Azhar was used as a training camp of terrorists," Sukhera said.

A couple of days ago Sabrina Tavernise, a reporter of New York Times, was barred from visiting the family of a man allegedly involved in the attack on the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) provincial headquarters in Lahore on May 27.

Tavernise reached Bhakkar, around 200 km from here, to interview the parents of engineer Asif Ansari who has been in the custody of intelligence agencies for the last two months.

Before she could reach Ansari’s house in Darya Khan tehsil along with a local journalist, the officials of the law enforcement agencies intercepted her and demanded permission letters from the authorities concerned for the purpose.

On her failure to produce the same, the cops asked her to leave the district immediately. The police were generous and did not detain her.

"We have directions from higher authorities not to allow any foreign journalist to visit any place in the district without permission letter from foreign and interior ministries," district police officer Abdul Jabbar Rana said.

The Crime Investigation Agency (CID) has already informed the government to monitor all seminaries in five districts of South Punjab - DG Khan, Bhakkar, Bawalpur, Rahim Yar Khan and Muzaffarghar.


First Published: Sunday, December 6, 2009 - 16:56

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