Sunday, May 8, 2011

Pakistan puts temporary hold on media visas, gags "illegal" broadcasts from Abbottabad

The word "Gag" shown as running, for...Image via WikipediaThe Guardian reported the name of the CIA station chief in Islamabad based on local TV stations who named the specific official in Pakistan. We have stripped the name from the extract below for obvious reasons.

If true that the CIA chief had been outed by the ISI, that's going to make a bad situation, exceptionally worse.  And gagging the media, of course, will make the embarrassing Bin Laden news go away. True dat.

Via the Guardian:

The Pakistani government has introduced curbs on international media in the garrison town where Osama bin Laden was killed, ordering television stations to cease broadcasting and some reporters to leave town.

On Saturday night the television regulator, Pemra, ordered nine international channels, including the BBC, CNN and Fox, to stop "illegal" broadcasts from Abbottabad, where Bin Laden's house has been the subject of intense media coverage

It suggested the channels could not broadcast from Abbottabad or anywhere in Pakistan without obtaining a licence, a previously unknown requirement. Simultaneously, government officials contacted several British, Australian and American journalists, instructing them to leave Abbottabad because their visas did not permit them to stay.

The government also took measures to stop more journalists entering Pakistan. At diplomatic missions in London and New Delhi, Pakistani officials said there was a temporary hold on media visas.

The measures appeared to be part of a concerted government effort to stem a tide of critical media coverage over thorny questions about how Bin Laden lived for up to six years in a garrison town that is home to three regiments, a military academy and thousands of soldiers.
Until now most western criticism has been directed at Pakistan's military and intelligence agencies. Some US officials have insinuated that the powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) helped to harbour Bin Laden.

Now the ISI is hitting back with judicious media leaks. In a move bound to infuriate the US, on Friday several Pakistani television stations named the CIA station chief in Islamabad as [REDACTED]; the stations said he had been given a verbal roasting by the ISI chief, General Shuja Pasha.

The naming is sensitive because the previous CIA chief in Islamabad quit his position over security worries last December after being named in a court case and the national media. Some US officials blamed the ISI for the leak.
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