Pakistan has issued visas to two Indian journalist applicants.
The Pakistan High Commission spokesperson told StratPost that it had approved the visa applications of Snehesh Alex Philip of the Press Trust of India (PTI) and Meena Menon, the Islamabad correspondent designate of The Hindu.
This comes after StratPost broke the news of the visa denial to their predecessors, Reza Hasan Laskar and Anita Joshua, respectively, which put them to considerable inconvenience, not to mention their eviction from the country. The Pakistani directive asking The New York Times journalist, Declan Walsh to leave the country in 72 hours, last month, also did considerable damage to the country’s image, even though this was issued in the tenure of the caretaker government.
This also comes a day after your correspondent raised the issue with the Foreign and Security Affairs Adviser to the Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Sartaj Aziz, on Tuesday, after a bilateral meeting with Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Kurshid, on the sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in Brunei. It is noteworthy that Aziz is likely to be the next President of Pakistan.
The new ruling party in Pakistan, in spite of making verbal overtures to India, and with its claims of promoting media freedom, was in danger of acquiring a perception of being closed to India and its news media, after ejecting the last Indian reporter from the country, last week.
But with Wednesday’s move, the Pakistan government has gone some distance to allow existing news coverage to continue between the two countries. And while this, by no means, signifies any change in the relationship between the two countries, it may be indicative of two things. A Pakistani desire for engagement and a symbolic overruling of hardliners by the new government.