Well-known Pakistani news anchors Aamir Liaquat Husain and Waqar Zaka were detained by Myanmar authorities for six hours on Saturday before eventually being deported. They said problems arose when they told immigration officials that they were there to report on the plight of Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State.
The two journalists were reportedly on assignment for the Pakistani network Bol News. When they arrived in Yangon from Pakistan via Bangkok, Aamir Liaquat tweeted that they were facing “severe difficulties” at immigration.
— Aamir Liaquat Husain (@AamirLiaquat) September 9, 2017
A representative of Bol News said the network lost contact with the reporters for several hours shortly after they told immigration officials the purpose of their trip to Myanmar.
They were eventually put on a flight back to Bangkok. On Sunday, Bol News announced that they had returned safely to Pakistan.
After being deported, Aamir Liaquat tweeted a video of two officials at the Yangon International Airport with the caption: “That was the moment when they detained us illegally.”
— Aamir Liaquat Husain (@AamirLiaquat) September 10, 2017
The journalists’ deportation may have been related to their previous tweets, in which they laid the initial plans for their trip to Myanmar. Waqar Zaka raised the idea to Aamir Liaquat on September 5, saying: “Let’s rescue at least one family.”
Aamir Liaquat responded that he would apply for a “UN journalist visa,” though it’s not clear what kind of visa they ultimately used to get into Myanmar.
@AamirLiaquat Lets go Burma together bhai, last time I got arrested so need press visa access, let's rescue atleast one family.
— Waqar Zaka (@ZakaWaqar) September 4, 2017
— Aamir Liaquat Husain (@AamirLiaquat) September 4, 2017
Waqar Zaka visited Myanmar in 2015 and reportedly helped distribute aid to the Rohingya community, earning him praise in Pakistan.