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Revoke decision on Radio Mashaal closure, US tells Pakistan

Revoke decision on Radio Mashaal closure, US tells Pakistan

Jan 26, 2018 - 11:51

WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): Washington on Thursday urged Islamabad to immediately revoke its decision on closing Radio Mashaal broadcasts in border areas of Afghanistaninfo-icon and Pakistaninfo-icon.

Last week, Pakistan shut down the Islamabad bureau of Radio Mashaal, the Pashtoinfo-icon-language service of Congressionally-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL).

Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency, ISIinfo-icon, alleged that the radio programmes were “against the interest of Pakistan” and “in line with [a] hostile intelligence agency’s agenda.”            

The allegations have been refuted by REF/RL. “Radio Mashaal serves no intelligence agency or government,” said RFE/RL president Thomas Kent.

“We are very concerned about the Pakistani Ministry of Interior's decision to close offices of Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty, Radio Marshall in Islamabad on January 19,” the State Department spokesperson said.

Heather Nauert told reporters at the Washington Foreign Press Centre: “We have conveyed our concerns to the government of Pakistan. We urge Pakistan to swiftly and unequivocally revoke the decision and restore Radio Mashaal’s operations.”

In a separate statement, CEO of Broadcasting Board of Governors John F Lansing said he was “troubled” by the decision of the Pakistani government to close down Islamabad bureau of Radio Mashaal.

“RFE/RL’s dedicated reporters are Pakistani citizens providing unbiased and accurate local reporting. They should be permitted to do their jobs informing the Pakistan citizenry, and they should be guaranteed safety while they do it,” he said.

The Pakistani move comes amid deteriorating U.S.-Pakistan relations after Washington’s decision to suspend military aid to Islamabad.

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