- They were supposed to attend a session of the AJK Legislative Assembly on August 5, says Chaudhry Fawad
Pakistan reacted strongly to reports that India has declined its request to allow foreign journalists to travel to Islamabad through the Wagah border.
Pakistan had earlier asked New Delhi to allow five foreign journalists based in India to cross the border to enable them to attend a session of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Legislative Assembly on August 5.
However, Indian authorities denied the request as it has closed the border due to coronavirus, reported The Times of India, quoting people familiar with the development.
The Wagah border crossing has been closed for all except diplomats and some others, the report further said.
However, several ministers criticised India's decision, saying that the neighbour does not want the world to see the reality of AJK, and independent journalism was shrinking under the insecure Indian government.
Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad urged India to allow journalists to visit Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) and let them report facts.
"So much of Freedom of Expression we want India to allow independent Journalists to visit IOK and let them report facts," he tweeted.
"These are actions of an insecure government that has much to hide and doesn’t want the world to see the reality of AJK," National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf also responded.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi also criticised the decision, saying that its denial is another "damning indication of shrinking space for free speech and independent journalism under a dictatorial regime".
Meanwhile, Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar has said that where Pakistan wants the world to see what is happening in AJK, India wants to hide what is happening in IIOJK.
"The difference between right and wrong cannot get more stark than this," Umar tweeted.