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Pakistan bans Afghan television channels

Written by: Staff

QUETTA, Pakistan, Mar 17: Pakistani authorities have banned the airing of two private Afghan television channels, saying they were spreading anti-Pakistan propaganda.

The mainly Pasto-language Tolo and Ariana television channels, widely watched along the border with Afghanistan, were banned after they blamed Pakistan for last week's suicide attack on a former Afghan president, an official said today.

''They are spreading malicious propaganda against Pakistan,'' Ashfaq Jamani, head of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) in southwestern Baluchistan province, told Reuters.

''They have been trying to incite sentiments after this attack.'' Former Afghan President Sibghatullah Mojadidi, who was slightly wounded in the attack, blamed it on Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI. Pakistan said the charge was baseless.

Tensions between the neighbours have been high since last month when Afghan President Hamid Karzai visited Islamabad and handed over information showing, according to Afghan officials, that Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar was in Pakistan.

Pakistan said the information was outdated and unusable and President Pervez Musharraf said Karzai was ''totally oblivious'' to efforts by elements in his government to malign Pakistan.

Both nations are allies in the US-led war on terrorism.


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