High-profile expulsion: Declan Walsh declared persona non grata

Defamatory articles, visits to troubled spots cited as reasons for expulsion.

Asad Kharal July 03, 2013
Declan Walsh had been working in Pakistan since 2004. PHOTO: ATHAR KHAN/EXPERSS


Declan Walsh, The New York Times Pakistan bureau chief, has officially been placed in category A of the Black List (BL), with the government declaring him persona non grata, documents available with The Express Tribune reveal.

According to the letter issued by Shahid Riaz, assistant director (BL Cell) at the directorate general for immigration and passports, Walsh has been blacklisted on the recommendation of the interior ministry and will no longer be able to avail visa facilities without the prior approval of the immigration and passports authority.

Meanwhile, in a letter addressed to Information and Broadcasting Minister Pervez Rasheed, Walsh has requested the minister for his assistance in reinstating the visa.

Walsh, who has been covering Pakistan for the New York Times from London, has said in his letter that “The New York Times has been unable to ascertain the reasons for the visa cancellation, other than the “undesirable activities” that were cited in the interior ministry letter. I have been based in Pakistan since 2004 and I hope that my record speaks for itself.”

Unravelling the mystery

According to the contents of a report prepared by an intelligence agency, Walsh was expelled due to false journalism against Pakistan and violating his terms of stay by visiting prohibited areas without a no objection certificate (NOC).

The report says that the journalist has, overtime, produced inaccurate and defamatory pieces about Pakistan with one creating the impression that the country’s nuclear weapons storage areas were being attacked.

In addition, Walsh had also been violating rules and regulations by visiting troubled areas without an NOC.

“...Walsh has frequently been advised to refrain from violating procedures. Nevertheless, disregarding instructions he continued to visit various no-go areas without clearance,” says the report.

The report also states that despite the ministry recommending non-extension of his visa, Walsh had managed to secure a one-year extension using political influence.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 3rd, 2013.


Saleem | 10 years ago | Reply

If Pakistani liberals are so sad at his expulsion then they have the perfect way to protest: they should divest their own Pakistani citizenship as well and emigrate to the US. That is, if the Americans will ever let you anywhere near their country.

Sao | 10 years ago | Reply This looks like the typical case of a spy and Washington-sponsored saboteur whose cover was blown. When the Kamra air base was attacked Declan Walsh told the world that the base was "thought" to house nuclear weapons... without explaining just who was the one who "thought" that or presenting any evidence whatsoever to back this assertion. When the news of his expulsion from Pakistan came out, the Guardian posted a picture of him from February 2005 merrily posing with armed separatists commanded by Nawab Akbar Bugti, at a time when the Baloch insurgency was particularly intense and no Pakistani army personnel (let alone any journalist) could ever venture to Dera Bugti (where that photo was taken) without great peril to his life. By the way, the New York Times admitted that it knew Raymond Davis was a spy right from the day when he was arrested in Lahore but under the White House's orders kept telling its readers that he was a diplomat until two British newspapers told the world the truth. This is the last newspaper on earth who should ever cry foul when its reporters are expelled from countries that the US doesn't like. So yes, Declan Walsh's record does speak for itself!
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