Islamabad (Web Desk): Caretaker Minister for Information and Broadcasting Murtaza Solangi on Tuesday said that international observers and journalists will visit Pakistan to monitor and cover general elections scheduled to be held on February 8.
He was addressing a news conference along with Secretary Information Shahera Shahid, Director General Radio Pakistan Saeed Ahmed Sheikh and Executive Director General External Publicity (EP) Wing Ambreen Jan in Islamabad today.
Sharing details of the applications being processed, the minster said that 49 visas have so far issued to the foreign journalists whilst thirty-two are under process.
He said Pakistan's High Commission in India has also received twenty-four applications which are being processed.
Solangi said that a total of 174 applications from various foreign media outlets have been received.
“Several international media outlets including CNN, BBC, DW and those of Japan have already presence in Pakistan and they will be covering the elections on the national and provincial assemblies' seats,” he said.
Murtaza Solangi said that the applications submitted by the foreign observers are also being processed.
“25 applications have been received from Britain, 8 from Russia, 13 from Japan, 5 from Canada, 2 from South Africa and 5 from the Commonwealth,” the minister informed.
He said that international journalists and observers are being given permission letters for monitoring and coverage of the electoral process in three big cities including Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. He, however said if a foreign journalist wants to visit any other city, his case will be processed on case- by-case basis.
The information minister said local journalists are being provided with accreditation cards for coverage of the general elections.
He said that 6,065 accreditation cards have so far been issued to the local journalists across the country.
Giving a city wise break- up, Solangi said that 1,200 cards have been issued in Lahore, 1,470 in Karachi, 1,050 in Peshawar, 600 in Quetta, 355 in Hyderabad, 250 in Faisalabad and 209 in Multan.
Responding to a question, the information minister said it is the responsibility of the state to provide security to its citizens and we will also be providing security to the foreign journalists and observers.
In her remarks, Executive Director General EP Wing Ambreen Jan said that Pakistan has received requests from 14 countries for their journalists and observers to be allowed coverage of the elections.
She said that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has also issued a code of conduct for the foreign journalists and observers.
The Executive DG EP Wing said that a media cell will be established at the office of Press Information Officer where all facilities will be provided to the foreign observers and journalists.
“A cell at EP Wing has also been established for the issuance of accreditation cards to the journalists,” Ambreen Jan added.