Deported Telegraph duo want to return to Pakistan

Lamb and Sutcliffe photographed by MP Paul Marsden, who was on the flight from Islamabad

Sunday Telegraph foreign correspondent Christina Lamb and photographer Justin Sutcliffe have asked the Foreign Office to lobby for their deportation order from Pakistan to be cancelled so that they can return.

Lamb, in particular, is anxious to get back in, even though this is the second time she has been forcibly removed from the country by the Pakistani military intelligence service.

The pair were arrested at their hotel in Quetta last Friday at 2.30am and held for 24 hours in a frightening ordeal in which they were denied access to the outside world and refused food and water for 12 hours, before being put on a London-bound plane from Islamabad.

Lamb told Press Gazette: "The paper wants me to go back. It’s incredibly frustrating. I have been going to Pakistan since 1987. I lived there for two years, from 1988 to 1990, during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. I have contacts there. It’s a place I care about a lot.

"We feel we were deported without anybody explaining why, apart from a vague order. I hope we will be allowed back – clearly it was a mistake that we were kicked out. Pakistan is fighting a war with us and for them to be treating journalists in such a barbaric, police-state manner is not what we are fighting for."

Even though she fears the security services could do something worse if she did go back, Lamb affirmed: "I want to be there covering that story."

Sutcliffe said: "I am hoping this is not going to lead to us being banned irrevocably from Pakistan. But I fear if we go back shortly, our ability to operate would be compromised in some way – that we would be tailed and contacts might fear to talk to us.

"Irrespective of what the officials may say, the individual agents on the ground would be fairly determined to make life difficult for us. It would be a matter of personal pride for them to do so. It’s unlikely they will back down on this because it will mean a terrible loss of face for them.

"I’m lucky in that I didn’t receive the same level of viciousness as Christina. The female officers in particular behaved despicably to her."

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has spoken on their behalf to his Pakistani counterpart.

Both believe they were deported because of the story they were working on – that members of Pakistan’s security services are involved in supplying arms to the Taliban.

But the only reason they were given was that they had been "acting in a manner prejudicial to the external affairs and security of Pakistan."

By Jean Morgan

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