IRISH JOURNALIST DECLAN Walsh has been ordered to leave Pakistan where he has been working as the New York Times’ bureau chief for the past year.
The order came last Thursday on the eve of today’s national elections with the deadline for his departure falling later today. He has confirmed he will comply with the order.
Pakistan’s Interior Ministry has confirmed the expulsion order but has not explained the reasons for it beyond Walsh’s “undesirable activities”.
Walsh is a veteran correspondent in Pakistan where he has previously worked for The Guardian before joining the New York Times in January 2012.
He has previously worked for the Sunday Business Post and the UCD student newspaper The University Observer.
According to the New York Times, Walsh was out on a social visit on Thursday evening when he received a call ordering him to return to his home in Islamabad where he was handed the expulsion order.
The paper reports the order as stating: “It is informed that your visa is hereby canceled in view of your undesirable activities. You are therefore advised to leave the country within 72 hours.”
The New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson has sent a letter of protest to Pakistan’s interior minister describing Walsh as “reporter of integrity who has at all times offered balanced, nuanced and factual reporting on Pakistan” and requesting that his visa be reinstated.
Today Walsh has been tweeting about the elections in Pakistan with pictures from polling stations in Lahore but has confirmed that he will comply with the expulsion order and leave the country tonight.