Media and human rights groups including IFEX members condemn Pakistan’s decision to prevent the entry of Steven Butler, who was scheduled to speak at a human rights conference 

On 17 October the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Asia Program Coordinator Steven Butler was refused entry into Pakistan, despite having a valid visa. Butler was told by airport authorities in Lahore that his document was voided because his name was “on a stop list of the Interior Ministry.”

Butler was expected at the Asma Jahangir Conference, the largest annual gathering of human rights advocates in Pakistan. The conference is named in honour of the prominent activist who campaigned for women’s equality, due process, and the strengthening of democratic institutions. This year’s theme is the promotion of “a more tolerant and democratic South Asia.”

CPJ’s executive director Joel Simon described the decision by Pakistani authorities as “a slap in the face to those concerned about press freedom in the country.” He asked authorities to provide a full explanation of their decision to bar Butler and correct this error.