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____________________________________पत्रकारिता के जनसरोकार

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मुंबई प्रेस क्लब ने पाकिस्तान से दो भारतीय पत्रकारों के वीसा के नवीनीकरण की मांग की

May 13, 2014

Mumbai Press Club urges Pakistan to walk-the-talk and renew Indian journalists' visas

The Press Club Mumbai has noted with regret that the two Indian journalists - Meena Menon of the 'Hindu' and Snehesh Alex Phillip of the PTI - stationed in Islamabad, Pakistan have been denied renewal of visas, and have been asked to leave the country. The Press Club has recorded its protest with the High Commissioner of Pakistan, Mr Abdul Basit, and has urged him to help reverse the decision so that the 2 journalists can continue reporting from Pakistan. 

Meena Menon and Phillip were not given any order in writing but were orally told to leave Pakistan in a week time. Their visas expired in March and since then both of them have been trying hard to get their visas renewed. The Press Club is of the opinion that asking Indian journalists to leave Pakistan will send a wrong message and only help hardliners on both sides of the border. 

A few months ago, the Karachi and Mumbai Press Clubs, in a joint statement, called on both governments to increase the presence of journalists of the other country to 4 instead of 2. This was backed by members of the government of both India and Pakistan. However, we regret to note that the Pakistan government has spurned the spirit of the joint resolution of the Mumbai and Karachi press clubs.

There is no provocation for sending journalists back home, especially at a time when the election results may bring about a change in government. This will send a negative message to India, and only help in hardening the stance of the two neighbors  even further.  

Such moves also fly in the face of recent statements of Mr. Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan’s Prime Minister, and Mr. Abdul Basit, Pakistan’s High Commissioner in India, who have been pushing for regional cooperation between neighbours in south Asia, and have emphasised on continuing dialogue irrespective of the party that comes to power in India. The journalists can play a major role in promoting peace.  

While journalist organisations like the Press Club Mumbai and Karachi Press Club have been developing strong people to people relations, it is unfortunate that the Pakistan government has not reciprocated in letter and spirit.  

Secretary

Press Club Mumbai

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