Federal ministers have criticised the right-wing government of Narendra Modi for denying permission to five foreign journalists based in India from travelling to Pakistan’s Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and covering a session of the local legislative assembly.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi criticised New Delhi for refusing permission to the five journalists and highlighted how India’s decision was reflective of their government’s ‘dictatorial regime’.
This was a ‘damning indication’ of how independent journalism was “shrinking” under the Modi government, the FM said in a tweet on his official handle.
The denial of permission by India to 5 international journalists to travel to Pakistan, in which a visit to the Azad Kashmir Assembly was scheduled, is another damning indication of shrinking space for free speech and independent journalism under a dictatorial regime.
— Shah Mahmood Qureshi (@SMQureshiPTI) August 4, 2021
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry also condemned New Delhi’s actions, adding that he wanted journalists to visit Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) and report ‘facts’.
The journalists were “supposed to attend 5th August session of Azad Kashmir Assembly”, he wrote on Twitter.
“So much for freedom of expression”, Chaudhry added.
India has refused to allow five foreign journalists permission to visit Pak, they were supposed to attend 5th August session of Azad Kashmir Assembly, so much of #FreedomofExpression we want India to allow independent Journalists to visit IOK and let them report facts
— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) August 4, 2021
Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar soon quote tweeted Chaudhry’s tweet, adding that India wanted to ‘hide’ the realities of IIOJK by barring the journalists.
“We want the world to see what is happening in Azad Kashmir and they want to hide what is happening in Indian occupied Kashmir,” he said.
Umar added that the difference between ‘right and wrong’ was evident by the countries’ actions.
The difference is simple @fawadchaudhry. We want the world to see what is happening in azad kashmir and they want to hide what is happening in indian occupied kashmir. The difference between right and wrong cannot get more stark than this. https://t.co/iJP0XvE4d7
— Asad Umar (@Asad_Umar) August 4, 2021
National Security Advisor Moeed Yusuf commented on the situation via Twitter, stating that these were the ‘actions of an insecure government’.
These are actions of an insecure government that has much to hide and doesn’t want the world to see the reality of AJK and contrast it to the open jail that exists in IIOJK under Indian occupation. https://t.co/gmwvLCyt1D
— Moeed W. Yusuf (@YusufMoeed) August 4, 2021
The Indian government has ‘much to hide’ from the world, he said.
Yusuf maintained that India is trying to hide the reality of AJK so that it is not compared to ‘the open jail’ that exists in Kashmir under Indian occupation.
Federal Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari questioned if the journalists would report on the government’s refusal to let them visit AJK and ‘expose the growing myth of Indian democracy under [the] fascist Modi’.
Why did we expect otherwise from the fascist Modi regime? Question is whether these foreign journos will now report on this refusal and expose the growing myth of Indian democracy under fascist Modi? https://t.co/EfuYYbnTZD
— Shireen Mazari (@ShireenMazari1) August 4, 2021