Pakistan on Wednesday said India has refused to allow five foreign journalists based in New Delhi to visit Islamabad.
According to Pakistani Information Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, Indian authorities did not allow the journalists to enter Pakistan through the Wagah-Attari border.
"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," Hussain tweeted.
“We want India to allow independent journalists to visit IOK (Indian-Occupied Kashmir) and let them report facts,” he added.
Prime Minister Imran Khan is expected to address the special session of the Azad Kashmir Assembly on Thursday on the eve of the second anniversary of the annexation of Kashmir.
The journalists working for the US and UK media based in New Delhi were invited by the Pakistani Information and Broadcasting Ministry for interviews with Khan and also to visit Pakistan-administered Kashmir also known as Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
“They were invited for interviews on Kashmir and Afghanistan,” the information minister told Anadolu Agency.
He added that his country always allowed foreign media to visit Azad Jammu and Kashmir for reporting, but India never allowed any independent journalist to visit "the occupied Kashmir."
“Foreign journalists, including Indians, are more than welcome to visit Balochistan. That is the difference. You can visit Azad Kashmir, but you (India) will never allow independent journalists to visit IoK,” he said.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi tweeted: “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.”
On Tuesday, Indian media also reported that New Delhi turned down Pakistan’s request to allow a group of New Delhi-based foreign journalists to travel to Islamabad.
“The Wagah-Attari border crossing is currently open to very limited categories of travelers, including diplomats and people travelling for essential reasons, because of COVID-19-related restrictions,” Indian daily Hindustan Times quoted an official as saying.
Diplomatic relations between the two South Asia nuclear neighbors soured after India stripped Jammu and Kashmir of its autonomous status and divided it into two centrally ruled territories on Aug. 5, 2019 -- creating fresh tensions in the restive region.