Fled Afghan journalists face an uncertain future in Pakistan

KARACHI: Dozens of Afghan journalists fled their country last year after Taliban takeover of Kabul faces an uncertain future in Pakistan as they anxiously wait for their visa extension to stay in the country and continue to struggle to repatriate to European countries or America. Journalists fled Afghanistan mainly Islamabad, Karachi, Quetta complain that they do not receive help from even international organizations and NGOs.
Malik Muhammad Afzalan official working for the Ministry of Interior of Pakistan visa department said visas could be extended this week but they must get approval from the country’s intelligence agencies.
Nasrin Shirazad, who works for Ariana News in Kabul, said: “The Pakistani Interior Ministry has approved a special visa for all media workers who want to leave Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover for fear of being affected. affected by the report and their work”.
The mother-of-three fled to the eastern province of Nangarhar shortly after the Taliban took power in August 2021, and she received a letter on her doorstep threatening dire consequences for her “crime.” ” and her “unfaithful” deeds.
The Taliban have denied the release of any such letter and called it ‘fake’.
The presenter and broadcaster said that now NGOs as well as other Western countries and organizations she has approached to move to another country say there is no evidence that she has to deal with the situation. face any threat in Afghanistan.
But Shirzad said her job as a journalist has put her and her family under such threat for years.
“It was a relief for my family that we finally received visas to evacuate to Pakistan in February but now the visas have expired.”
Other Afghan journalists are also waiting for the Pakistani government to renew their visas and have now been asked by their hosts to leave basis or they will be kicked out of the house.
“Without a valid visa I cannot rent any place in Pakistan nor can I get any financial help from any NGO or relatives or friends in Afghanistan” , Abdullah Hameem, journalist of leading Afghan TV station Tolo TV speak.
Currently, there are about 200 Afghan journalists running and they all communicate through a WhatsApp group.
Hameem said many journalists who worked full-time in the more progressive scene in Afghanistan over a decade before the Taliban took power fled to Pakistan or some other neighboring country for fear of reprisal for their work. surname.
Many of these journalists are former female broadcasters and presenters like Sodaba Nasiry, 26, who worked for the Afghan parliamentary TV channel before and left Kabul for Pakistan the day the Taliban attacked Kabul. .
She said her visa expired this month, making it impossible for her to legally rent a room. Currently, she is staying with an Afghan widow in Islamabad.
Nasiry is currently being treated for depression and is facing acute financial problems that keep her from getting proper treatment.
She said all her e-mails and applications to the International Federation of Journalists and Correspondents BorderlessThe Committee to Protect Journalists, and the German, French, Italian and Canadian embassies did not respond positively to requests for assistance.
A report by media watchdogs last month confirmed that Afghanistan has lost almost 40% of its media and just under 60% of journalists since the Taliban took over.
There were 2,756 female journalists and media workers in Afghanistan before the Taliban took power, with only 656 remaining working in limited conditions.
Some Afghan journalists who fled to Pakistan even paid bribes in US dollars to private agents or middlemen to obtain new documents or renew their visas.
Another journalist said: “The emotional, legal and financial pressures are becoming too much for us.

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