According to information released on Thursday, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) detained foreign journalist Steven Butler, the senior programme consultant for the Committee to Protect Journalists (CJP), at the Lahore airport when he arrived in Pakistan to attend the Asma Jahangir Conference.
Butler was informed by immigration officers at the Lahore airport that he was on an Interior Ministry “stop list.”Butler was questioned by immigration officials for about eight hours before being given permission to enter by the Interior Ministry. According to the details, the Interior Ministry had been notified by FIA authorities since Steven Buttler was on the stop list following his arrival.
The journalist was deported from Pakistan in 2019 and put on the PTI government’s stop list as a result.Following the member of one of the top media watchdogs’ denial of admission, rights organisations have criticised Pakistani authorities, calling the action a “slap in the face for those worried about press freedom.”
Joel Simon, executive director of CPJ, said in a statement that Pakistani authorities’ decision to prevent Steven Butler from entering the country is “baffling” and “a slap in the face” for people worried about press freedom in the nation.
Senior Pakistani journalist Mazhar Abbas denounced the incident, calling it “shameful that CPJ’s Steve Butler has been held at Lahore Airport.”Butler, according to him, has a current visa that was issued by the Pakistani Embassy in Washington.