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Journalists likely to be next target

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    Journalists likely to be next target


    ISLAMABAD: Journalists who criticised the Pakistani army for its invasion of Kargil sector early this year may be the military government's next target after it finishes with bank defaulters.

    According to a Jang report, the army will begin phase two of its operation in which ``those who worked against national security will be targeted.'' It will include those who, according to the paper, were involved in ``conspiracies against the armed forces.''

    The paper quotes ``reliable'' sources to say that phase two of the crackdown would cover those senior journalists and columnists ``who spewed poison against the Pakistani army during the Kargil issue and wrote anti-state columns.''

    In addition to the eight senior journalists who are already on the exit control list, details and audio-video evidence was being collected against other journalists who supported Sharif against the army, the paper said.

    During the Kargil conflict, many Pakistani journalists and columnists had criticised the army's action especially when it resulted in national ignominy, which they said was worse than the one suffered in the 1971 war when India defeated Pakistan and East Pakistan became Bangladesh.

    Thus far, Musharraf had not placed any restrictions on the press, which on its own is observing self-censorship to avoid the army's displeasure on the other hand, it had been giving stories exposing Sharif's government.That is what the army would like the press to do.

    Musharraf will visit Iran this week in an apparent bid to improve their long turbulent ties over Afghanistan, drug smuggling and killings of Iranians in Pakistan.

    Musharraf is scheduled to arrive in Teheran on Wednesday and meet President Mohammad Khatami on Thursday in the highest-level contact between the two countries since the coup. He will also meet Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

    The Pakistani leader will discuss political issues as well as economic ones, including the possible construction of an Iran-India gas pipeline through Pakistan, a foreign economic specialist in Teheran said. Iran has called for Pakistan to return to democracy, while at the same time maintaining relations with the new authorities
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