Pakistan has expelled the New York Times bureau chief for alleged “undesirable activities” on the eve of an historic election, the US-based newspaper said.
The two-sentence expulsion order was delivered to Declan Walsh, a 39-year-old British citizen, on Friday.
“It is informed that your visa is hereby cancelled in view of your undesirable activities,” the Times quoted the order issued by the Interior Ministry.
“Your charge of ‘undesirable activities’ is vague and unsupported,” Times’ executive editor Jill Abramson wrote in a letter to Interior Minister Malik Habib Khan.
The newspaper said the order required Walsh to leave the country Saturday before midnight.
A Times’ editorial said that silencing journalists would deprive the public of transparency about the process and campaign violence.
“Nor would they learn of the extent of Pakistan’s patronage networks, as Mr. Walsh reported on Wednesday. But maybe that is the point,” it said.
More than 115 people have been killed in election-related violence. One candidate, the son of ex-premier, was abducted at gunpoint on Thursday.