US urges Pakistan to lift ban on Radio Mashaal

US urges Pakistan to lift ban on Radio Mashaal

Washington (Web Desk): The United States urged Pakistan on Friday to lift a ban on US-funded Radio Mashaal, BBC Urdu reported.

US Department of State spokesperson Heather Nauert expressed American’s concerns regarding the ban, adding that the reservations had been forwarded to Islamabad.

“The ban on Radio Free Europe/ Radio Free Liberty station concerns the US,” she told reporters at a press briefing. “We have informed the Pakistani government about our concerns and demand them to withdraw the decision of closing down Radio Mashaal without any delay.”

Last week, authorities shut down US-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty‘s Pashto-language station in the country on for airing content “against the interest of Pakistan”. The office of RFE/RL’s Radio Mashaal in Islamabad was ordered closed by the Ministry of Interior.

The notification accused Radio Mashaal of portraying Pakistan as a “failed state” and “a hub of terrorism and safe haven for different militant groups”. It alleged that the station was “distorting facts (to) incite the target population against the state and its institutions”, referring to ethnic Pashtuns.

According to its website, Radio Mashaal was launched in 2010 to help undermine militants. RFE/RL, founded in 1950 to beam programmes into the communist bloc, is funded by a grant from the US Congress. It currently broadcasts in 25 languages and aims to “serve as a ‘surrogate’ free press in 23 countries where the free flow of information is banned or not fully developed.”