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NY Times bureau chief ordered to leave Pakistan

People walk by the entrance to the US newspaper 'The New York Times' in New York, March 8, 2011
People walk by the entrance to the US newspaper 'The New York Times' in New York, March 8, 2011. The New York Times said Friday its Islamabad bureau chief was ordered to leave Pakistan for unspecified "undesirable activities" in the country.

The New York Times said Friday its Islamabad bureau chief was ordered to leave Pakistan for unspecified "undesirable activities" in the country.

The newspaper said it had "strongly protested" the expulsion order for Declan Walsh, and was seeking his reinstatement.

An expulsion order was delivered by police to Walsh's home at 12:30 am Thursday, according to the Times.

"It is informed that your visa is hereby canceled in view of your undesirable activities," the order stated, as cited by the newspaper.

"You are therefore advised to leave the country within 72 hours."

The order means Walsh, 39, must exit Pakistan on the night of the elections.

Polls were set to open Saturday, allowing an electorate of more than 86 million to vote for the 342-member national assembly and four provincial assemblies in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, Sindh and Baluchistan.

Walsh has lived and worked in Pakistan for nine years, most of the time for The Guardian newspaper of Britain. He was hired by the Times in January 2012.

The journalist has written about the country's political strife, insurgency and sometimes tense relations with the United States.

Jill Abramson, the newspaper's executive editor, sent a letter to Pakistani authorities describing Walsh as a "reporter of integrity who has at all times offered balanced, nuanced and factual reporting on Pakistan."

She called the accusation of undesirable activities "vague and unsupported."

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