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ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office Tuesday categorically rejected the unsubstantiated reports of an alleged possible crackdown on overseas dissidents and termed the allegation as part of blatant ongoing misinformation campaign against Pakistan to malign the country and its state institutions.

"We categorically reject the unsubstantiated media reports alleging Pakistan cracking down on overseas dissidents. 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," Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said, while reacting to a foreign media report.

The Guardian, a British daily newspaper, in its report on August 7, 2021, claimed that "Pakistani exiles living in London who have criticized the country's military have been warned that their lives are in danger, raising fresh concern over authoritarian regimes targeting foreign dissidents in the UK."

"The unsubstantiated allegations appear to be part of the rather blatant on-going misinformation campaign against Pakistan to malign the country and its state institutions," Chaudhri said.

He asserted that 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.

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

He further stated: "Provision of a platform for peddling of unsubstantiated and false narratives against Pakistan by any news outlet is indeed regrettable."

The British newspaper also claimed that "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."

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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