NEW Delhi: India on Wednesday termed as “regrettable and unfortunate” the expulsion of the two Indian correspondents in Pakistan and said not allowing independent journalists to function was a “retrograde step”.
Asserting that free flow of information between India and Pakistan has long been recognized as an important confidence building measure (CBM), an External Affairs Ministry spokesperson said this CBM should be safeguarded by all concerned.
In an abrupt action, Pakistan has expelled the two Indian journalists, Press Trust of India’s Snehesh Alex Philip and The Hindu newspaper’s Meena Menon, posted there and asked them late on Tuesday night to leave within seven days without assigning any reason.
“It is regrettable and unfortunate that the two Indian correspondents in Pakistan have been asked to leave prematurely and suddenly only a few months after their arrival there.
“Not allowing independent journalists to function is a retrograde step especially as free flow of information between India and Pakistan has long been recognised as an important (CBM),” the spokesperson said.
Asked if expulsion could be related to the ongoing ferment and debate in Pakistan about the media and the differences between various organs of state on freedom of media, he said, “We are surprised that there have been numerous allegations against India in the ongoing controversy in Pakistan on media freedom and the different views of Pakistan institutions thereto.
“The stationing of journalists and free flow of information is an important CBM and should be safeguarded by all concerned.”