FO rejects ‘unsubstantiated’ reports of crackdown on overseas dissidents

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Tuesday categorically rejected “unsubstantiated media reports” alleging Islamabad was cracking down on overseas dissidents.

In response to media queries regarding the allegations of Pakistani institutions cracking down on overseas Pakistanis, Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said the provision of a platform for peddling of “unsubstantiated” and “false narratives” against Pakistan by any news outlet was regrettable.

“There is no question of any threat being made to any national of any state including Pakistan’s own nationals living anywhere on any pretext whatsoever,” the spokesperson said.

Chaudhri noted the allegations appear to be part of the “rather blatant ongoing misinformation campaign against Pakistan” to malign the country and its state institutions.

“Pakistan is a parliamentary democracy with a vibrant civil society, free media, and independent judiciary, which remains fully committed to the promotion and protection of human rights for all its citizens without discrimination,” the spokesperson said.

Our strong commitment to the right to freedom of opinion and expression is demonstrated by the presence of scores of vibrant media channels and newspapers in the country, Chaudhri added.

The Foreign Office responded to a report published in The Guardian, which claimed British security officials and European intelligence services had said the lives of Pakistani dissidents residing in the region were in danger.

“British security sources are understood to be concerned that Pakistan, a strong UK ally – particularly on intelligence issues – might be prepared to target individuals on British soil,” the publication said.