Pakistan takes journalists to Balakot, gives ‘limited access’https://indianexpress.com/article/india/pakistan-takes-journalists-to-balakot-gives-limited-access-5649530/

Pakistan takes journalists to Balakot, gives ‘limited access’

New Delhi has questioned the timing of the journalists’ visit and said that Islamabad is again trying to peddle propaganda and deny to the world the existence of JeM terror camps in Balakot.

Pakistan takes journalists to Balakot, gives ‘limited access’
The site of airstrikes is said to be spread over 6 acres and journalists, sources said, were given access only to a limited area. (Source: AP/PTI Photo/File)

Nearly a month after strikes by the Indian Air Force on Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorist training camps in Balakot, the Pakistan army is learnt to have taken a group of eight journalists to the border area on Thursday.

According to sources in intelligence agencies, the journalists, facilitated by Pakistan authorities, interviewed more than 300 children at a local mosque. The journalists, it is learnt, were allowed to record videos and given access to some nearby sites. “They were taken at 10 am, and stayed there until 3.30 pm,” a source confirmed. “The entire area was cordoned off by a platoon of frontier corps, the Pakistan paramilitary force.”

Officials, however, said the details of videos and interviews conducted by the journalists given access were not available with them.

The site of airstrikes is said to be spread over 6 acres and journalists, sources said, were given access only to a limited area. The remaining area was kept off limits, the sources said. It is also not clear whether the children at the site were local residents or brought by the Pakistan authorities for a photo opportunity, they added.

Advertising

New Delhi has questioned the timing of the journalists’ visit and said that Islamabad is again trying to peddle propaganda and deny to the world the existence of JeM terror camps in Balakot.

According to sources in the diplomatic circles, Pakistan is trying to mislead Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Asia/ Pacific Group (APG on money laundering), which have asked the country to dismantle terror infrastructure or face sanctions. On Thursday, the APG concluded its review on Pakistan and has flagged serious non-compliance of FATF recommendation on terror funding and money laundering.

FATF has already put Pakistan under grey list.FATF is an inter-governmental agency to promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the international financial system.

The developments come a after Pakistan had on Thursday denied the presence of any terror camps on its soil and stated that it had examined 22 “pin locations” shared by India.

Follow the Lok Sabha Elections 2019 real-time on IndianExpress.com/elections. Check the Lok Sabha election schedule, your Lok Sabha constituency details as well as where Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi are campaigning in the Lok Sabha Election. On Twitter, follow @Decision2019 for the latest news and analysis.