WASHINGTON: The United States (US) on Friday urged Pakistan to lift a ban on US-funded Radio Mashaal, reported BBC Urdu.
US Department of State spokesperson Heather Nauert said that the ban on Radio Free Europe/ Radio Free Liberty station is concerning for the US. She said that the US has informed the Pakistani government about the concerns and has demanded that the decision should be withdrawn.
Last week, on the directions of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the Interior Ministry on Friday shut down Radio Mashaal, a Pashto language broadcaster linked to the US-funded Radio Free Europe.
A notification issued by the ministry said that as per an ISI report, the radio programmes were found against the interests of Pakistan. It said that the four main themes of the programmes aired by the service included “portraying Pakistan as a hub of terrorism and safe haven for militant groups, propagating Pakistan as a failed state in terms of providing security to its minorities and Pakhtuns, presenting the Pakhtuns of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Balochistan as being disenchanted with the state, and distorting facts to incite people against state and its institutions”.
The ministry, thus, decided to close down the radio’s regional office in Islamabad and terminate its activities. The Czech-based Radio Free Europe first began its services in FATA in 2010 with the name of Radio Mashaal with an aim of providing “an alternative to the growing number of extremist radio stations in the region”.