Pakistan: FO rejects report of clamping down on dissidents abroad

Pakistan: FO rejects report of clamping down on dissidents abroad

Pakistan “categorically rejected” a foreign media report on Tuesday that claimed the country was clamping down on dissidents overseas, according to the Foreign Office.

In response to a report in The Guardian, the FO stated there was no question of any threat being made to any citizen of any country, including Pakistanis residing abroad, under any pretext.

According to the article, UK officials had warned expatriate Pakistanis who were critical of the military that they would be “targeted.”

“Pakistan, a strong UK ally — particularly on intelligence issues — might be prepared to target individuals on British soil,” the story alleged.

The former UK high commissioner to Pakistan, Mark Lyall Grant, said in the Guardian report: “If there is illegal pressure, in particular on journalists in the UK, then I would expect law enforcement agencies and the British government to take notice of that and to make an appropriate legal and/or diplomatic response.”

It further said that political analyst Ayesha Siddiqa had been issued an Osman warning by the Metropolitan Police, which is named after a late-90s case. The warning was given by British police, who think the potential victim is facing a death threat.

The Foreign Office spokesman, Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, responded to the report’s accusations by saying that the unfounded charges seemed to be part of a “blatant ongoing misinformation campaign” against Pakistan aimed at maligning the nation and its governmental institutions.

Pakistan is a parliamentary democracy with a “vibrant civil society, free media, and independent judiciary,” according to the spokesman, and it is completely dedicated to the promotion and preservation of human rights for all people without discrimination.

The existence of dozens of dynamic media channels and publications in the country demonstrates our strong dedication to the right to freedom of thought and expression, according to the statement.

According to the Foreign Office, the availability of a platform for the peddling of unfounded and misleading narratives about Pakistan by any media report was “regrettable”.

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