PAKISTAN, Islamabad – Three reporters from Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper have been ordered to leave Pakistan in the next 72 hours for an editorial the paper ran that used an expletive in an allusion about President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, an official said Saturday.
The three — Isambard Wilkinson, Collin Freeman and Daniel Macelroy — were the first reporters ordered out of Pakistan since Musharraf imposed emergency rule a week ago.
Deputy Information Minister Tariq Azim said they were being thrown out for an editorial in Friday's paper that used the expletive. The editorial also said Musharraf governed with a "combination of incompetence and brutality" and has become "part of the problem" in the battle against Islamic militants, who have scored a series victories over Pakistan's security forces in recent weeks.
Wilkinson said he could not comment and referred phone calls to the newspaper's London headquarters. There, a spokeswoman said she could not confirm the report.
Musharraf cited a growing threat from Islamic militants and political instability for his emergency order. He has since put a stranglehold on the media, taking most domestic and international news channels off the air, including CNN and BBC.
He has also threatened journalists who criticize his government or the army with up to three years in jail.
The three expelled on Saturday were the first foreign reporters to be targeted under the emergency.