Two Indian journalists, one from PTI and the other from The Hindu, were recently expelled from Pakistan. As far as known, the two scribes had done nothing objectionable to invite such a harsh action.
The expulsions, which come at a time when India is set to get a new government at the helm, raises questions about the peace process between the two neighbouring countries.
One source indicated that the action by the Pakistani government could have been the fallout of India denying permission to a batch of 500 Pakistani pilgrims to visit Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti’s Dargah in Ajmer. Another report suggests that the Pakistani military intelligence outfit ISI engineered the provocative act.
Meanwhile, the Indian High Commissioner has taken up the matter with the Pakistani foreign ministry.
exchange4media spoke to some senior journalists to gauge their reactions to this incident. Most wanted firm action against Pakistan by India to send out a clear message.
Satish K Singh, Group Editor, Live India remarked, “On the one side, the Pakistani government sends congratulatory message to the new government in New Delhi, and on the other hand, it acts in a most undesirable manner by expelling two senior journalists. What kind of diplomacy is this? Why has Pakistan used journalists to vent its frustration and raise the pitch of alarm?”
While stating that he did not support the view that media persons act as bridges of understanding between two countries, NK Singh, General Secretary, Broadcast Editors Association noted, “Journalists work on a global platform and cannot be confined to the narrow boundaries of morality or national borders. True, they do represent their nation, but more often they transcend the borders of nationhood. If some journalists expose the anti-India policies of the Pak government, obviously the Pakistani establishment won’t relish it. Action against the two journalists is certainly questionable and not warranted. Clearly, it is partisan and wrong.”
“Seriously, this is most unfortunate, and coming at such a crucial moment in history, it’s an expression of double speak and hypocrisy by the Pakistani establishment. They should have reviewed their decision, particularly when it is clear that there was no justification or reason for this kind of partisan action. Officially, the Pakistani government has not given any reason for this provocative act,” said Sanjeev Srivastav, Group Editor, Focus News.
Pramod Joshi, former Editor of Dainik Hindustan, added here, “Though an official explanation from the Pakistani government is still awaited, circumstances suggest the conspiratorial hand of the ISI, the military intelligence arm of the Pak establishment. Pakistan should have avoided this kind of extreme action. I feel the security agencies of the two countries should stay away from such partisan acts against media persons. If journalists ask uncomfortable questions, it is because of the nature of their profession, it is part of their calling. Official agencies should not be so sensitive about such matters, but give due freedom and respect to journalists. For a long time Pakistan has not sent any journalists in India, though two positions are available. I think Pakistan should now realise that such provocative acts send out negative vibes and messages and could prove bottlenecks in improving ties.”