UK reporters ordered out of Pakistan

Sat, Nov 10, 2007, 00:00

Pakistan today ordered the expulsion of three journalists from a British newspaper for using "foul and abusive" language about the troubled country and its leadership.

A senior information ministry official said all three worked for the Daily Telegraph.

However colleagues of the correspondents said two worked for the Daily Telegraphand one for the Sunday Telegraph, and that one had already left the country.

In the old parlance, General Pervez Musharraf is 'our sonofabitch'.
Daily Telegraph editorial

The move was a response to an editorial published in the Daily Telegraphyesterday, an information ministry source said.

A Telegraphspokeswoman said the newspaper was trying to establish the facts.

A letter entitled "offensive words", written by Imran Gardezi of the Pakistan High Commission, referring to a comment piece published yesterday, appears in today's Daily Telegraph.

It reads: "The language used of the president of Pakistan in your leading article is offensive and flouts the norms of decent journalism. For a newspaper of The Daily Telegraph's reputation to resort to such derogatory language is highly regrettable.

"This deserves an apology."

The piece the letter refers to, on yesterday's comment page, is entitled "Bankrupt relationship". It reads: "Despite [US president] George W Bush's rhetoric about freedom, the struggle against terrorism is provoking a reaction familiar from the Cold War and nowhere is that clearer than over Pakistan.

"In the old parlance, General Pervez Musharraf is 'our sonofabitch'. He has failed to stamp out extremist groups and close the madrassas that inspire them.

"He has allowed the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan to fall into the hands of assorted jihadis. And he has sacked independent-minded judges for fear that the Supreme Court declare illegal his re-election as president last month.

"Yet, despite this combination of incompetence and brutality, America and Britain continue to back him as head of what has a strong claim to be the most dangerous country in the world."