The Russian embassy has sought an explanation from the Pakistan foreign ministry for expelling the Russian scribe from the presser
NEW DELHI: Tensions arose during a joint press briefing by Pakistan foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and his visiting Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba in Islamabad when a Russian journalist was abruptly expelled from the event on Thursday.
Ruslan Bekniyazov, a senior correspondent of Russia’s ITAR-TASS news agency, said that he was invited for the press conference held at the Pakistan’s ministry of foreign affairs office but was asked to leave the venue minutes before the event was to start.
The press conference was held to brief domestic and foreign journalists on the outcome of Zardari and Kuleba’s meeting during the latter’s “emergency visit” to Islamabad.
Reacting to the incident, the Vladimir Putin administration expressed its serious concern and dismay over the violation of the journalist’s rights to access information. The Russian Embassy in Pakistan took to Twitter to voice its support for Ruslan Bekniyazov and emphasized that such actions against reporters are unacceptable.
The embassy has requested Pakistan’s foreign ministry in Islamabad to provide a detailed explanation of the incident, seeking clarity on the circumstances that led to the journalist’s expulsion.
It was reported that the day before the scheduled joint press stakeout, the Pakistani foreign office press wing had duly collected and registered the names of foreign office correspondents, including Ruslan Bekniyazov, to cover the media briefing.
During the conference, when fellow journalists noticed the absence of Ruslan Bekniyazov and inquired about the reason for his removal, spokesman Mumtaz Zahra Baloch appeared to be unaware of the situation.
The incident has added strain to the bilateral visit of Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba to Pakistan, taking place from Thursday and Friday.
During the briefing, Bhutto and Kuleba said they discussed the Black Sea grain deal and its impact on global food security. The two leaders reiterated their commitment to further strengthen bilateral relations.
It is believed that Kuleba made the emergency visit to secure more arms and ammunition from Pakistan, which has been sending shiploads of weapons since August last year. His visit coincided with Pakistan’s decision to send a fresh consignment of 200 containers carrying rockets and other weaponry to Ukraine through Poland.
However, during the press conference, both foreign ministers denied having any arms deals.